Organisers at the Grand Prix of St Petersburg have revealed that the inaugural 2003 event will host the season opening Barber Dodge Pro Series round during the 21-23 February race weekend.

The feeder formula will support the CART Champ Car World Series around the streets of the Florida city, and joins the first Fran-Am Winter Series on the support bill for the opening round of the remodelled premier championship. The Barber Dodge race marks the beginning of the 18th annual Pro Series for up-and-coming international drivers in a class which has already produced the likes of Juan Montoya and Kenny Brack among its alumni.

"We're excited to start our season in St Petersburg and support the Champ Car World Series," said George Tamayo, director of marketing and communications for Skip Barber Racing School, which runs the series, "We're going to have a strong field in 2003, and are looking forward to putting on a good race. The St Petersburg track should suit our cars very well."

"We are thrilled to host the Barber Dodge Pro Series," confirmed Thomas Begley, general manager of the Grand Prix of St Petersburg, "With this race added to the mix along with the Champ Car World Series, Trans-Am and Fran-Am races, we've got an exciting weekend of racing activities. The young, hungry drivers in Barber Dodge always put on a good show, and the race should give us a glimpse of some future CART drivers."

The Barber Dodge Pro Series race is expected to run in the afternoon of Saturday 22 February, with qualifying taking place on the preceding Friday. The Barber Dodge Series champion will receive a $100,000 prize at the end of the season, while the Rookie of the Year will get $100,000 in funding to return to the series the following season.



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