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Grand-Am Road Racing Media Conference

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Sports/Touring Car Racing Topics:  Grand-Am Road Racing

Grand-Am Road Racing Media Conference

Scott Atherton
Hans Werner Aufrecht
Ed Bennett
Jim France
Jens Marquardt
Jurgen Pippig
Wolfgang Schattling
Hans Stuck
March 26, 2013

HERB BRANHAM: I'd like to start off with a quick VIP intro. We're overjoyed to be joined by NASCAR's chairman and CEO Brian France. I'll talk about the people here at our head table:
GRAND‑AM's president and CEO, Ed Bennett.
The president and CEO of the American LeMans Series, Scott Atherton.
GRAND‑AM road racing's founder, Jim France.
The chairman of the ITR, Hans Werner Aufrecht.
The president of Germany's motorsport's governing body, Hans Stuck.
We'll open our program introducing, again, GRAND‑AM founder Jim France.
JIM FRANCE: Thank you, all, for joining us tonight for what I feel is a very exciting announcement. We're going to finalize tonight a licensing and cooperation agreement between GRAND‑AM and the ITR, which administers the extremely successful German DTM touring car series. This agreement formalizes the shared goal of bringing a version of DTM racing to North America in 2015 or 2016.
Much work remains to be done to realize this vision. We have always said everyone at GRAND‑AM, IMSA and the American LeMans Series are proud to have simply been involved in these negotiations. This agreement is the latest indication of the optimism surrounding the future of sports car racing on this continent. Obviously the prospects of DTM racing in North America is very exciting.
HERB BRANHAM: Thank you, Jim.
For some further opening comments, we turn to a man who founded AMG, which evolved into AMG Mercedes. The A stands for his last name. He's the chairman of ITR, Mr. Aufrecht.
HANS WERNER AUFRECHT: A very warm welcome to you, ladies and gentlemen. I am very happy being here with you today and having the chance of sharing my passion for motor racing in general and DTM in particular with you.
The new version of DTM has been existing since the year 2000, but in its past format it wouldn't have had a future. It was far too expensive and the level of equal opportunities just wasn't given. No change means stagnation, and stagnation could have meant the end for the series.
Therefore, all those involved made up their minds about assumptions that could be the basics for creating a secure future for DTM. A constant increase of budget just had to be stopped, and the same applied to the far too expensive technology transfer under the given regulations at that time. A clear line had to be set.
A consolidation within the motor racing diversity in all the categories has begun a long time ago. But the battle to meet the new challenge and to survive is bigger than ever.
DTM was going for significant changes. These changes were so extensive that many people believed that achieving them would be impossible, a revolution never witnessed before that changed motor racing and will keep on changing it.
Since the premium manufacturer, BMW, entered DTM in 2012, the series had undergone countless developments that have got what it takes to not only guarantee the future of the series but to also strengthen and expand it.
The changes in the global economy resulted in an unprecedented cooperation of not only the German but also the Japanese manufacturers who jointly created the two technical regulations that represented the basis for the epic development and collaboration of the past years and months.
Following the cooperation of DTM with the Japanese Super GT 500 as well as the Japanese car manufacturers involved ‑ Honda, Nissan and Toyota ‑ on the basis of the new technical regulations, a cooperation was announced to the public in 2012.
The next milestone is to be set today. More than five years of intensive and very professional collaboration with the American series operator NASCAR GRAND‑AM resulted in a long‑term cooperation deal regarding the new technical regulations. A new premium series is supposed to be held on this basis from 2015, 2016, and the highly attractive Sprint format with NASCAR GRAND‑AM.
In this regard I'd like to particularly thank Jim France and Ed Bennett, who always believed, just as we did, that the cooperation would result in an agreement, and worked hard in achieving this goal.
The world is getting smaller. The pressure regarding the economic visibility is increasing more and more. When it comes to equal opportunities, first of all, fascination is getting higher and higher. The new technical regulations and the formed partnerships created a combination of all these demands. They represent for the first time in the history of this sport a global platform for the manufacturers, a platform offering them the opportunity to race on the same technical basis and with the best global promoters for an attractive platform in the core markets: North America, Asia and Europe.
In addition, the new corporation quite obviously also offers a new and extraordinary field of activities for the American premium manufacturers such as Cadillac, Ford or Dodge. Now you have to inform and fascinate them together with our new partner NASCAR GRAND‑AM and encourage them to get involved.
I am extremely happy and proud of this cooperation and I am looking forward to the combination of the extremely positive and amicable collaboration with the joint goal of a strong platform that will succeed in, first of all, fascinating the people and increasing their interest in motorsports.

(Video Shown.)

HERB BRANHAM: After a video like that, it's kind of appropriate that we're going to hear some words from a man like this. Our next speaker directly ties to North American road racing won the 12 hours of Sebring three times, also won the 24 Hour LeMans twice during a fantastic career. Once again, Hans Stuck.
HANS STUCK: Thank you.
Good evening. I think what we've seen in this little movie was spectacular racing on a world class level with maximum safety. That's what also the DTM is standing for. We are proud to work together with the three manufacturers. I'm also happy to have Mr. (Indiscernible) here, who is in charge of safety regulations. Any questions, please feel free to contact him.
I don't have to tell you that America is my second home, not only in motor racing, also as my home. I always enjoyed coming to race here from '75 on in various racing series. I love the American fans. That's what I think why now we have a fantastic chance to bring to the fans in combination with NASCAR, with GRAND‑AM, the fantastic DTM series. It's for the fans. It's going to be spectacular motorsports on a high safety level, also with reasonable cost. I think this chance we have is a good one and we should take it.
I would say the stage is open. The manufacturers have to do it now.
Thank you very much.
HERB BRANHAM: We're also pleased to be joined this evening by representatives from Audi, BMW and Mercedes‑Benz, who will also offer a few words regarding tonight's announcement.
Let's welcome to the podium from Audi, Jurgen Pippig.
Pictures full of emotion and passion. Very impressive.
Ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues, do you know Udo Jurgens? I guess not. He's a very famous singer in German and Austria. One of his most popular songs is, Ich War Noch Niemals in New York: I've Never Been in New York.
I can tell you this is also the truth for me. I've been to Sebring, Daytona, Mid‑Ohio, Road America, many other racetracks in the U.S., but it's really my first visit to the Big Apple. It is a pleasure for me to be here with you, especially for such an occasion.
My name is Jurgen Pippig, I am the head of communications motorsport for Audi. Audi, ladies and gentlemen, has a very long history in the U.S. motorsports, and we are more than thrilled that GRAND‑AM and NASCAR are working on the possibility to bring DTM‑style racing to the U.S.
Like Hans Werner Aufrecht, I would like to thank Jim France and Ed Bennett and their organizations for all the effort they are putting in to see the new thrilling project. Working with you gentlemen has been a pleasure so far, and I am looking very much forward to the next month and years.
Audi is a part of the DTM on a factory level since 2004. Together with our colleagues from BMW and Mercedes‑Benz, we have been involved in creating the new set of DTM rules which were successfully introduced in Europe last year.
They will be used in Japan from 2014 onwards, and they are also a strong base for the future of the DTM series in the USA. Thanks to the cooperation with the Japanese Federation and GRAND‑AM DTM‑style racing will be spreading to Asia and North America in the next few years, thus covering some of the most important markets of every car manufacturer.
For Audi, the U.S. market is one of the most important and fast‑growing ones. Audi has been extremely successful in the U.S. in the last couple of years. Since generally 2011 every single month has been a record month for Audi in the USA. We are growing faster than the market itself, especially in the high premium segment, every third Audi is an A6, A7, A8 or Q7.
The success of our brand is also based on motorsport, which is part of the Audi DNA, and also based on the successful motorsport programs we have always been running in the U.S. Audi has won the famous Pikes Peak High Climb in Colorado three times back in the '80s. This was followed by successful outings in the Trans‑Am and IMSA series in '88 and '89‑ if you remember, Hans, what happened there. And from 2000 onwards, our sports prototypes for the whole decade has been dominating the American LeMans Series since 2006 promoting our TDI clean diesel engines, which we're introducing right now to the U.S. market.
The American LeMans Series will merge with the GRAND‑AM series in 2014, and here comes the link to the DTM. United Sports Car Racing and NASCAR will be strong U.S. partners for the projected new U.S.‑based DTM series which will allow Audi of America to race the Audi RS5 DTM in the U.S.
I think, without any doubt, we are working and cooperating here in America with the best and most professional organization: NASCAR and GRAND‑AM, together with you gentlemen.
Everybody in our company is looking very much forward to this new opportunity. We really think there is a place for DTM‑type racing here in the USA, and that this series can have a bright future also thanks to the strong links with NASCAR and GRAND‑AM.
Audi is very much interested in competing in the new U.S. series. Together with our colleagues of Audi Sport North America, we will be working hard to bring the Audi RS5 DTM to the U.S. We are thrilled by this new opportunity of our motorsport program in the future.
We sincerely hope that manufacturers from the U.S. will realize the chance and potential of competing with Audi, BMW, Mercedes, and maybe brands from Asia with racing cars which are fascinating, fast, safe, technologically advanced, but still cost‑effective.
And you, ladies and gentlemen, the media representatives, can help to make DTM‑style racing a success in the U.S. If you want to know and feel what DTM is all about, please just come over to Europe and visit us at one of the DTM events. We would be more than happy to welcome you and explain to you all the emotions of the DTM before you will also get it here in the U.S.
Thank you.
HERB BRANHAM: Join me now in welcoming our next special manufacturer guest to the podium, BMW motorsports director, Jens Marquardt.
JENS MARQUARDT: Good evening, everybody.
I'm really pleased to be here this evening on behalf of BMW. DTM for BMW has really a very important meaning. It's our number one works program over in Europe. At the same time the North American market is a very important market for BMW. It's our biggest market, and especially for BMW M, it's the strongest market in the world.
We have a great tradition in racing in the U.S. as well. Goes back to the '70s when we started the 3.0 liter, but goes through all the generations of M3 racing cars that raced here successfully in the U.S. We've enjoyed a lot of wins and a lot of titles. Obviously we are very excited about the cooperation that will be announced here tonight between DTM and GRAND‑AM, NASCAR.
Thanks to Ed Bennett, Jim France, everybody at ITR, Mr. Aufrecht, who have worked to get to this point. Right now I think it's a fantastic starting point.
DTM cars I think we've seen in the video are really fascinating and exciting racecars. DTM is a very good platform and we enjoy since last year being part of that again.
The races have been fantastic in 2012, not only for BMW. Obviously in the first year after 20 years of absence we managed to clinch all three titles in this year, but I think we're also looking forward to some great races this year.
BMW overall really fully supports what we will be announcing tonight. BMW, that is the BMW AG, BMW Motorsport, that is BMW of North America. I think tonight we're really at the start of a very exciting racing platform for the U.S.
Thank you very much. Good night.
HERB BRANHAM: Now let's bring up the director of Mercedes‑Benz motorsport communication and administration, Wolfgang Schattling.
WOLFGANG SCHATTLING: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I have only a few words to say, hopefully not for too long.
Just starting with my company, we are very proud to be back in the USA because we have been racing here for a very long time with some interruptions that started almost a hundred years ago with the incredible 500 miles win of Ralph De Palma. It hasn't ended yet with the Texas race in Austin, the U.S. Grand Prix, being won by Lewis Hamilton, who has been joining us from McLaren. He was just third, and for the first time on the podium last weekend in Malaysia.
We are very proud to be a part of this here. For us, the American market, I don't have to emphasize this, is the best‑selling market in the world. We sell more cars than even in Germany. We have a lot of support and followers here in the U.S.
For example, 1.4 million followers on Facebook. Maybe should be one more, but I don't follow Facebook so much. I'm an old‑fashioned guy, I must admit. Anyway, we are really proud now to be part of this and we are looking forward to a series in 2015 which will for the first time have all the important markets under one cover, and we have a professional partner with NASCAR and GRAND‑AM who have proven in many, many decades that they are capable of doing something special.
We hope and are looking forward that what we have created now will be very special, as well.
Thank you very much.
HERB BRANHAM: Everyone, an important element of tonight's program is for us to recognize the Japan‑based Super GT racing. Along those lines, we have two videos for you this evening. The first you're about to see will give you a very compelling snapshot of the excitement of Super GT racing. The second features a specially prepared message from the chairman of the GT association, Massaki Bandoh.

(Video Shown.)

MASSAKI BANDOH: (Given in Japanese.)
HERB BRANHAM: We're now going to hear from a couple of gentlemen who can give us some North American specifics. Leading off, GRAND‑AM's president and CEO, Ed Bennett.
ED BENNETT: Good evening to this historic announcement. Thanks, everyone, for joining. We've been working for a couple years and are excited to be to this point. We've built a strong relationship with Mr. Aufrecht and Dr. (Indiscernible) and ITR. Look forward to years to come.
I've attended several DTM events in Germany. It's a great product, very close competition. The agreement is long‑term in nature. We're very excited by that. The territory is North America, U.S. Canada and Mexico. As a part of that we're able to use the DTM regulations exclusively in this territory.
Another important component is formation of a joint steering committee and a technical working group. That will be a group consisting of DTM, Super GT and GRAND‑AM IMSA that will work on the future enhancements to the regulations. They're very good as they stand today.
Target series launch is 2015, 2016. It really is a world class motorsports platform for premium automotive brands. We're estimating the number of events to be eight to start with, opportunity to add more in the future as it makes sense. Companion events for sure with IMSA and United Sports Car Racing. It's really a touring car sprint race format, 70 to 75 minutes in length, perfect for a 90‑minute television program, minimum grid of 18 to 20 cars.
Can't have a racing series without strong manufacturer partnerships to field the cars and also support the marketing platform. I think the good news is the interest is very strong and it's all part of our comprehensive strategy that we're very proud of, glad to be bringing out to everybody and sharing it.
Thank you.
HERB BRANHAM: For some follow‑up on Ed's remarks, here's the president and CEO of the American LeMans Series, Scott Atherton.
SCOTT ATHERTON: Good news, I'm taking us through our last lap.
It's a remarkable time certainly for road racing in North America. I think most would describe the last six months as unprecedented. If you go back to last September we announced the merger of GRAND‑AM and the American LeMans Series. Moving forward from there at the test before the Rolex 24, we came out with a class structure that will be part of the unified series in 2014. Later in January we saw an epic example of historic 24 Hours At Daytona, the Rolex 24, and just two weeks ago at Sebring International Raceway, we were able to announce the unified platform that will debut in 2014 at the 2014 Rolex 24. I hope everybody in this room has already heard, but I'm talking about United Sports Car Racing.
At that same time we were also able to announce that the International Motor Sports Association, IMSA, will be the sole sanctioning body for all of our racing activities. Just two days after that, after those epic announcements, we had the first event of the American LeMans Series for this year, the legendary 12 Hours of Sebring, the 61st running.
The combination of great starts with outstanding events in both series, and some unprecedented news announcements has created what many people are describing as a history‑making period.
And now we're here this evening with yet another major announcement. Under IMSA's sanctioning, we have three well‑established pillars of road racing. But as if we were a chair, three is not enough. We open up with a premiere endurance series, United Sports Car Racing. We have several single mix series, and developmental series, incubators for talent, drivers, teams, crew members, sponsors and the like.
Tonight we're talking about rounding out IMSA's road racing offerings, adding the missing piece to our road racing puzzle, a world class touring car series.
This final slide that you're looking at now illustrates the current competition lineup of DTM in Europe: Audi, BMW, Mercedes‑Benz. It's our hope and expectation that these fine manufacturers confirm their plans as well as many others joining them for a North American DTM‑style series.
Tonight we confirm that all the pieces are in place. We have for the first time the opportunity to round out our offering with a full lineup of manufacturer‑driven touring car series focused on North America.
Herb, I think it's time to make this official, so I'm going to turn it back to you.
HERB BRANHAM: Thank you, Scott.
It is time for a special moment in our program. Jim France and Hans Werner Aufrecht will now sign the license and cooperation agreement between GRAND‑AM and IMSA and the ITR.

(Document signed.)

HERB BRANHAM: Jim, your thoughts on this moment and what it means to road racing here on this continent and overall?
JIM FRANCE: Let your imaginations run off into the future a little bit. Picture fast and furious road racing, premium automobiles from European, Asian and American manufacturers. Wheel‑to‑wheel, door‑handle‑to‑door‑handle racing. 65 years of NASCAR experience says this will be exciting and entertaining racing.
Thank you.
HERB BRANHAM: And, Mr. Aufrecht, your thoughts and perspective now that the agreement is signed?
HANS WERNER AUFRECHT: I believe that touring car racing in the United States is prepared. Now it's up to the manufacturers as to how they use it.
Thank you very much.
HERB BRANHAM: We're going to now move into our media question‑and‑answer session.

Q. How do you describe sports car racing wheel‑to‑wheel to the American audience? Do you see any American drivers coming along?
HANS WERNER AUFRECHT: Yeah, first of all I think the racing in the States is, of course, very tough, what I've learned and experienced by myself. It is on the other hand on a very familiar basis, different to Europe. In Europe, there's tough racing going on, but it's sometimes not quite as friendly as it is here, which as a driver I appreciate and have learned like this.
American drivers, yes, of course. This I think is also a very important fact. For me it was very important to come to the United States. You never stop learning in your whole life. I think it's important that we have American drivers coming over to Europe. It's a win‑win situation on both sides.

Q. Hans Stuck, you had a lot of success in North American road racing. Maybe you could expand on what you see is going on now and kind of relate that to the way it used to be and the potential for us to get back to where it used to be.
HANS STUCK: This is a difficult question, of course. To answer this, today is a very important day to start an activity like this.
I think also this year is to me a win‑win situation because the States have great racing series. NASCAR, for example, is the number one sport maybe in the world for the fans you see by the attendance, the number of cars competing.
Also I think it's interesting for the fans to see the type of production cars racing here in the States. Many people drive BMWs, Mercedes, Audis here. I know there's a big fan base for these cars to see when you come to races. They would like to see more of their class racing in the States. This is a fantastic basis to start this kind of racing format here in the States, to be able to please those fans.
We must all know that we're not doing the racing here for our own purpose. It's for marketing, it's for the fans, and it's important why we are racing here.

Q. Will there be a spec formula? I don't understand how some of these cars are going to compete as we currently see them competing. Somebody weigh in on that, please.
HERB BRANHAM: General secretary of DMSV, Christian (indiscernible).
CHRISTIAN: You'd like to know how the cars are built up?

Q. Will they be basically unibody or two frame? GRAND‑AM uses two frame. I'm curious how we're going to see that.
CHRISTIAN: The cars are a bit different to what you have in the U.S. It's a carbon fiber monocoque sports car style. Inside the body shell you have a full scale carbon fiber monocoque where the driver sits. You have a back‑sitting gearbox and a front engine. From our perspective for today, it's going to be a two‑liter turbo. Each manufacturer has its own engine setup, its own aerodynamics setup. All the rest of the car is more or less identical in order to save development costs.

Q. It's interesting that a variety of options are being talked about for DTM in North America, possibly running on United Sports Car Racing weekends, NASCAR weekends. It seems like this has a fit for just about anything.
ED BENNETT: As Scott talked about, now that you have the strategy of an endurance racing series with United Sports Car single‑make series, developmental series, opportunity for DTM‑style racing in the U.S., what a great product offering. A, it's a great standalone. It's good in a strong pairing with NASCAR and other properties like IndyCar. I think it's got a lot of great possibilities.
SCOTT ATHERTON: The consolidation of the merger, if you look at our 2013 calendar, it's 22 separate events at 17 different tracks. That will be consolidated I think to start with somewhere between 10 and 12 events for our opening season in '14. You look at other road racing products, and the opportunity for them to join in with the premiere weekends, the real estate is going to get a little more scarce. That's why opening the opportunity to run a DTM‑style series not only with NASCAR weekends, United Sports Car programs, but other road racing out there.
I think we've got a good track record of playing well together and we'll plan to continue that.

Q. Mr. Bennett, doing a quick calculation in my brain, we're really talking about within a relatively short period of time IMSA being involved in about 20 races a year. When you combine these two series, do you envision guys going from united racing series into the DTM competition and back? Therefore, when you schedule it, are you likely to come up with conflicting dates?
ED BENNETT: Good question. As is true of most sports car racing, there is some driver migration that occurs between the series. I expect that would happen here as well.
I think you could also look to see potentially participation coming from overseas, and we would welcome that, international drivers and teams. It's a good opportunity.

Q. Jim, if we're talking about NASCAR dates, we have Watkins Glen, Sonoma. Has there been any discussions or interest from either track that you're aware of?
JIM FRANCE: We really haven't had any discussions with anyone at this point. We're still in the organizational process.

Q. The teams for the series. Are you going to follow a model that's directly manufacturer supported in its entirety or are you going to have a model that encourages engagement with teams based here in America to participate?
ED BENNETT: I think it is a manufacturer platform and the teams would be the manufacturer's responsibility. By the same token, there's an opportunity for them to have a model where they work with private teams to field the cars and fill a grid.
I think it could be a combination of factory works teams and potentially manufacturer managed and influenced private teams.

Q. The audience for this series. I think it's very clear to most people in this room who the audience is for NASCAR. It's a large audience. Also for sports car racing. How do you differentiate the audience for this product, age, demographic, mindset?
SCOTT ATHERTON: That's a very good question. I think you will have a complementary series to our core sports car product here as well. If you look at the demographics of that audience, it's a different audience than what NASCAR represents. It doesn't mean one is good or bad, it means they're different, which broadens the scope of offering here.
I think there's many manufacturers involved in sports car racing and DTM racing that, frankly, wouldn't be a good fit in a different format.
The good news, when you look at the combined resources that are represented at this table now with some of the other announcements that have been made earlier this year, it's almost a scenario that we've got a good fit for just about every combination that's out there.
The opportunity to bring not only the existing European manufacturers that are involved but some other premium domestic and Asian brands into the North American market through this conduit, it's a win for everybody involved.

Q. Mr.France, you've been around this game for a while now. Mr. Atherton earlier referred to the pace of the events over the last six months as being almost unprecedented. How does it feel to be in the middle of all this and having Daytona at virtually now the world center of racing? Will we have a DTM race in Daytona?
JIM FRANCE: Like I said, we haven't really talked any tracks at this point. We have a lot of work to do to bring this series together.
For me it's been an exciting time because I am a road racing fan. But working with Ed and Scott and our team, with Brian's NASCAR team, we've been able to accomplish a lot in a short period of time. As I said, we've got a lot more work to do but have a lot of great people involved in the process.

Q. Scott, the negotiations for this agreement preceding the merger talks by a good while. With that said, do you and other people at the American LeMans Series look at this as a bonus of sorts to the merger?
SCOTT ATHERTON: No question. We were aware that putting my American LeMans Series hat on and IMSA for a moment, the rumors came first, then the validation that there was some real traction occurring between NASCAR GRAND‑AM and the DTM series. I guess now is as good a time as any. We've made more than one trip to Germany trying to wrestle that away back into thinking that perhaps we were a better fit.
The best news is when you look at what we have accomplished through the merger, all of the same people and practices and procedures that existed before are still with us now, and the opportunity to combine forces the way we have makes tonight's announcement truly a bonus.

Q. You've announced an agreement starting in 2015 or '16. What needs to happen for that series to go ahead?
ED BENNETT: A lot of things. I mean, this is great progress. We've kind of mapped out what we'd like for the vision to be in terms of number of events, types of series that it may run with. The general strategy is laid out. But I think the big thing is bringing the message out, sharing it with the world today, letting it be known publicly in North America, and really probably working closely with the manufacturers.
A big part of the reason that we're here in New York, A, it's a great place to announce something big like this, but not by surprise the New York auto show opens tomorrow. We'll be walking around and spending time with our friends.

Q. I wanted to know if you have approached the American car makers and if they've shown an interest yet in this product?
ED BENNETT: We have made the opportunity aware to our American manufacturer partners in advance of the announcement really out of respect for the relationship we've had for many decades. They're well aware of it, asking good questions, seem interested, as do the Asian OEMs and German OEMs. The good news is there's interest in this opportunity. Look forward to having more detailed conversations.

Q. (Question regarding the cost of participation.)
ED BENNETT: I'll try to answer the parts of the question I could hear. The audio wasn't great on it. Next steps, budgetary requirements, it sounds like.
We've developed a preliminary model from a competition standpoint, working with our friends from ITR, DTM, and also a general outline of what kind of marketing elements would be involved in a platform like this.
The good news is that will be a part of the ongoing discussion with our manufacturer partners. But we've got a preliminary plan that we've developed over time with our friends from DTM and the participating manufacturers today in Germany who honestly have been just great partners to get to the point of educating us about how the model works, kind of their secret formula for success.

Q. I'm interested in knowing more about the American manufacturers and their reaction. I'd be curious what their reaction is and the start‑up time they would need to field a competitive car.
ED BENNETT: As was discussed before, we've had a long history with the lead American manufacturers. Really out of respect for the partnership, it's a great opportunity, we've shared that with each of them. We've had the first round of discussions and there's a lot of good questions that have come out.
I think from a brand standpoint, this is a premium OEM brand opportunity, it could be an opportunity for some premium brands that to date have not existed. It could be a unique opportunity for some of the premium nameplates that are manufactured in the U.S.
HERB BRANHAM: This will conclude the formal part of our event. We're going to thank the people for participating. Thanks, everyone, so much for attending.

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