Johnson Controls has announced its continued sponsorship of Paul Gentilozzi's Rocketsports Racing in the 2004 Champ Car World Series, where it is expected to appear on the car driven by the recently re-signed Alex Tagliani.

The automotive systems and facility management and controls leader entered Champ Car competition in 2003 with Tagliani's # 33 Lola, and was rewarded when the Canadian took the young team to the podium three times, secured two pole positions and finished a strong tenth in the championship standings.

"Johnson Controls is pleased to join Paul Gentilozzi and the Rocketsports team for a second Champ Car season," said Brian Kesseler, group vice president and general manager of customer business, "Through our involvement, we're able to enhance our relationships with key customers and gain new opportunities."

Johnson Controls and Rocketsports Racing share a rich history, dating back to 1998, when Rocketsports was competing solely in the Trans-Am series with Gentilozzi at the wheel. The driver-turned-team boss earned three Trans-Am championship titles for the partnership before shifting his focus from the cockpit to pit-lane in Champ Cars.

"Involvement in the Champ Car World Series has taken Rocketsports Racing and Johnson Controls to new levels of competition and business relationships," Gentilozzi said, "We are excited and proud to continue to build on the foundations we have established in our first season and plan to further utilize the opportunities available to us through racing.

"Johnson Controls has been an effective and supportive part of our Champ Car effort. They have become an integral part of the team and have been involved in many aspects of the competition, making the most of their sponsorship and access to the team and paddock."

Gentilozzi is one of the prime movers behind the Open Wheel Racing Series, which hopes to acquire the assets of the former CART operation in order to run the Champ Car World Series in 2004. The agreement of an extended deal with his primary sponsor will only help to bolster confidence in the series' future.