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Sunday, October 25, 1992 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Hawaiian Super Prix Expects Top Field

AP

The Hawaiian Super Gran Prix scheduled to debut Jan. 24 in Honolulu is shaping up as one very interesting event.

The race, with everyone in identically prepared Shelby Can-Am race cars, will feature drivers from Formula one, IndyCar, NASCAR, IMSA and the World of Outlaws.

Among the drivers who reportedly have accepted invitations to run the race that will pay $1 million to the winner are Nigel Mansell, the new Formula One champion; IndyCar PPG Cup stars Al Unser Jr., Michael Andretti and Mario Andretti, NASCAR Winston Cup stock-car stars Bill Elliott and Kyle Petty; the new IMSA Camel GT champ, Juan Fangio II, and the World of Outlaws sprint champion, Steve Kinser.

Another likely entrant is Nelson Piquet, three-time Formula One champion. He is recuperating from serious foot and leg injuries sustained in a crash during practice last May for what he hoped would be his first Indianapolis 500.

Piquet recently got up on crutches for the first time and has told friends that he is determined to be back behind the wheel in time for next May's Indy.

Racing on the temporary circuit that is being built around Aloha Stadium could speed Piquet's recovery - or set it back.

The race also has had some turn-downs, too.

Formula One stars Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna both said no. Their Benetton teammates Michael Schumacher and Riccardo Patrese initially said yes, but then had to back out because of their winter test schedule.

In any case, if all or even most of the drivers who have reportedly accepted actually show up, it should be one heck of a show.

For one thing, it would provide the only likely chance for Mansell, who is switching to Indy-car racing, and Michael Andretti, who is moving to Formula One, to go head-to-head in 1993 - unless Michael decides to run the Indy 500.

Mansell apparently has planned to undergo an operation in December to remove a small bone from his left foot - the remnant of a long-ago accident in karting - but expects to be back on his feet in time to race in Hawaii.

The promoters of the Hawaiian race expect to field at least 15 cars in the main event.

AGREEMENT REACHED -- A quiet announcement out of Paris this month went unnoticed by many but could have long-lasting repercussions in the world of international motorsports.

The Federation International du Sport Automobile (FISA), which oversees worldwide racing from its base in France, and the Automobile Competition Committee for the United States (ACCUS), which is its American arm, reached an agreement that should end the war of words between FISA and Championship Auto Racing Teams, the major sanctioning body of Indy-car racing.

The agreement gives CART an FISA sanction on races in North America, as well as Surfers Paradise in Australia, where the IndyCar season will begin for the third straight season in 1993.

Besides that arrangement, CART has been authorized by FISA to conduct as many as six more international events - as long as they are run on ovals.

Actually, that last part isn't really a new notion. It's just that this is the first time that FISA has said it officially.

HONDA HEADED FOR INDY -- The rumors that Honda, which recently withdrew it's $100 million-a-year engine program from Formula One, will wind up in Indy-car racing in the fairly near future were given a boost before the IMSA season finale at Del Mar, Calif.

Parker Johnstone, a star of the Camel Lights division in Acura racers, told a press conference that he expects American Honda to run a limited GT Prototype program in IMSA next season, then move into the IndyCar PPG Cup series in 1994.

The driver said that Honda already has a 2.65-liter Indy-car engine that it has been testing on dynos for "several years."

Honda officials have remained mum, as has Indy-car driver-team owner Bobby Rahal, who reportedly has had substantive talks with Honda but has contracted to use the new Chevrolet Indy V8-C engines next season.

RECESSION HITS TEAMS -- The ongoing recession continues to hit the teams in the pocketbook, with big-dollar sponsorships getting harder and harder to come by.

But the seats are still being filled with hardy race fans.

NASCAR reportedly filled more than 90 percent of the available seats in the first 26 races of the 29-race Winston Cup season, while CART officials said that attendance has been up - markedly in some cases - at 11 of its first 15 events run so far in 1992, with no appreciable falloff at the others.

Copyright (c) 1992 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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