Canadians should be able to compete in international motorsports; companies and investors should be able to support talented Canadian drivers while reaping at least some commercial benefits from it. This is what Andre Azzi, a successful Canadian businessman and CEO/owner of FAZZT Race Team, announced today just days before the country hosts its two IZOD IndyCar Series events - the Honda Indy Toronto and Edmonton. During a meeting held today in Toronto with members of the press Mr. Azzi committed to fielding at least one Canadian driver in the IZOD IndyCar Series and to spearheading the rebirth of a Canadian driver development program.
“This country has a wonderful history in motorsports,” said Azzi. “I still remember watching Gilles Villeneuve and admire how his achievements brought so many Canadians, and people from other nationalities, together. After careful reflection, I have made a decision to spend the next years of my life building a Canadian race team and driver development program that ensures that young drivers in this country get the support they need to reach the higher echelons of the sport. No one can do this alone, so I will be reaching out to corporate Canada to join me in filling this important need.”
In less than a decade, Andre Azzi has applied his energy and skills to create and grow companies in a variety of sectors including insurance, brokerage, retail, licensed products and real estate. When it comes to sponsors supporting his vision, Azzi sees nothing but “wins”.
“As Canada’s only team in IndyCar racing, we can offer sponsors ratings, a full schedule of events, exciting spokespersons, solid fan base and, here in Canada, an uncluttered business platform,” said Azzi. “We are passionate and confident about our vision, and are well under way.”
In the mid 90s, at a time when legislation allowed for tobacco sponsorships, Canada boasted a successful driver development program that helped groom a remarkable line-up of drivers including Jacques Villeneuve, Paul Tracy and Alex Tagliani.
“Thanks to the support and training we received on and off the track, we’ve been able to compete at the highest levels and represent our country around the world,” said Tagliani, who drives the #77 Bowers and Wilkins-sponsored FAZZT Race Team vehicle. “I feel very enthusiastic about Andre’s vision and hope that Canadian companies come on board in support of our collective dream.”
Canada has enjoyed an impressive history in motorsports, but insiders and fans worry about the roster of future Canadian drivers.
“Canada is showing hints of a racing renaissance,” said Azzi. “We now have a Canadian team thanks to our sponsors Bowers & Wilkins, Hot Wheels(R) and others, and leading organizations are starting to reinvest in a variety of racing properties. I am committed to making FAZZT Race Team a driver of this renewal.”
Mr. Azzi broke into the motorsport world a year ago when he helped to launch FAZZT Race Team, the only Canadian-owned team in the IZOD IndyCar Series. The team also features Alex Tagliani as a part owner and primary driver – the only Canadian driver to enjoy a full 18-event schedule in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season.