The CART Champ Car Barber Dodge Pro Series has officially announced that it will increase the number of races comprising the championship by going to a double-header format in 2004.

Current plans call for races at seven or eight venues, making for a 14-16 race championship. From the series' inception in 1986, Barber Dodge was a twelve-race series, shifting to ten races in 2002 and 2003.

"A primary motivation behind the increase is to attract more European drivers to the CART Champ Car Driver Development System," said Rick Ratajczak, driver relations manager for the BDPS, "The open-wheel ladder series in Europe typically conduct something on the order of 14-18 races. Now we can offer an equivalent amount of points races."

Ratajczak added that he expected 'the best value in professional open-wheel racing to get even better'.

"The entry fee will be nominally increased, but the per-race cost will go down dramatically," he explained, "And that's not even mentioning the big decrease in overall travel costs for the competitors."

Barber Dodge operations director Steve Sewell said that it was important to note that the double-race format requires no more weekend track time than is currently set for Champ Car's support series.

"The long and short of it is, at most venues, we are essentially replacing a Saturday qualifying session with a race - a driver's result in that race becomes his or her starting position for Sunday," he revealed.

Although it is too early to reveal a specific schedule, Sewell said that the series would be 'working with Champ Car to firm things up as it defines next year's dates and venues'.

"We expect our 2004 schedule to be substantially similar to 2003's," he suggested.



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