TORONTO, Ontario -- Pizza Hut Canada and Team Player's/Forsythe Racing announced a two-year partnership deal to promote Pizza Hut's 310-10-10 one-number delivery service hotline across Canada.
According to a release, the sponsorship package includes in-car camera TV coverage of three Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) races in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.
Cars driven by Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani, who form the series' only all-Canadian team, will bear the Pizza Hut markings alongside those of Team Player's.
No details were provided regarding the cost of the sponsorships, but prominent logo placement on high-profile race cars can run into the millions of dollars.
Pizza Hut's entry into major-league auto racing sponsorship marks the first time in more than a decade that a noteworthy car will bear a pizza chain's logo. Domino's Pizza sponsored CART racers for Douglas Shierson Racing from 1982 to 1990. The team won the '90 Indianapolis 500 with Arie Luyendyk behind the wheel, but Domino's pulled its sponsorship at the end of that season.
The move has stirred speculation that Pizza Hut will sponsor both cars full-time after the 2003 season. In 2004, tobacco company sponsorship of auto racing teams will be outlawed, and thus end Team Player's ability to participate.
According to the Toronto Star, John Bitove Jr., chairman and founder of priszm brandz, which operates 70 percent of all Pizza Huts in Canada, would not comment on the company's plans beyond the two-year deal just announced.
Carpentier called the involvement of Pizza Hut an important step in the revival of CART, which has fallen out of favor with auto racing fans and sponsors over the last few years.
"To have a major sponsors like this join the series is fantastic," he told the Star.