The Champ Car World Series, which was formerly known as Championship Auto Racing Teams or CART is the name of an Open Wheel World Championship auto racing series. It replaced CART in 2004 after the Championship Auto Racing Teams Inc. filed for bankruptcy. Roger Penske, Pat Patrick and Dan Gurney originally founded the organization in 1978 along with several other team owners who had been regularly participating in various CART and IndyCar events.
Originally CART oversaw the sanctioning of Champ Car racing in the US, Canada, Mexico and Australia. Today the Champ Car World Series performs this task. Championship Car racing differs from Formula One (or F1) racing in many ways, although the cars themselves may appear very similar to the casual eye. For example, Champ Car racing usually takes place on oval tracks, cars are permitted turbocharged engines and the cars use methanol for fuel rather than gasoline. In addition, Champ Cars are about 15% heavier than F1 cars and have sculpted undersides that produce ground-hugging forces – a practice banned by the Formula One governing board in 1982. Perhaps the main difference in the two types of racing is the expense: Formula One being a much more costly endeavor due to the requirement that teams build and prepare their own chassis. Champ Car teams source their cars’ chassis from a number of independent suppliers, which fosters competition and keeps costs down.
Most modern Champ Cars use turbocharged engines built by Ford Cosworth. Although only displacing 162 cubic inches, these methanol-fueled powerhouses put out an astonishing 850 horsepower in full racing trim – enough to propel the 1,550-pound Champ Cars to a pavement-blistering 240 mph!