Frankie Muniz, a successful film and Emmy nominated television actor, has started an exciting new career as a professional race car driver. Muniz has agreed to a comprehensive 2-year program with the professional Jensen MotorSport racing team to pursue his passion for professional car racing. Frankie is the newest member of the team, and will compete in the prestigious Formula BMW USA championship in 2006, and the Champ Car Atlantic championship in 2007.
Muniz states, “I have had an incredible time these past 8 years as an actor. Having done little else but work since age 12, and with a passion for fast cars, professional race car driving is something that I am really excited to pursue”.
Muniz (20) continues, “Eric Jensen, and the entire Jensen team, have taught me a great deal during our winter testing program. My times are now competitive with the best young drivers, and I am very focused on learning as much as possible to be able to race with the best this year and next. It’s pretty cool and quite motivating that in such a short time I will be able to race on the same famous tracks with Formula One and Champ Car drivers worldwide. This is such an incredible opportunity.”
Formula BMW has quickly become one of the most impressive developmental racing series in the world. Formula BMW USA is a championship contested annually by some of the top young driving prospects, on some of the most famous circuits on the continent, including the Formula One races at Montreal and Indianapolis. Frankie will be competing with an elite list of young drivers in the 2006 series as he prepares to advance up the racing ladder to the Champ Car Atlantic series in 2007, with view to either competing in the Formula One or Champ Car World Series in the future. The effectiveness of Formula BMW has produced many top drivers, including two current Formula One drivers – Nico Rosberg and Ralf Schumacher.
Jensen MotorSport Team President Eric Jensen states: “Frankie has performed extremely well in pre-season testing. He is quickly learning the multitude of skills required to be a competitive professional race car driver. Frankie has an ambitious plan to compete in the Formula BMW USA championship in 2006, and the Champ Car Atlantic championship in 2007. Given his passion and apparent skills, the entire Jensen MotorSport team is excited to have Frankie as one of our drivers for the next two years, and we are expecting some great successes together.”
Jensen continues, “Race fans and fans of Frankie personally will be able to watch him compete live at seven (7) races on the 2006 Formula BMW USA championship calendar, including:
May 19-21 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (near Columbus, Ohio)
May 26-29 Lime Rock Park, Connecticut
June 23-25 Canadian Grand Prix @ Montreal (with Formula One)
June 30 – July 2 United States Grand Prix @ Indianapolis (with Formula One)
July 28-30 San Jose Grand Prix, California (with Champ Car World Series)
August 11-13 Denver Grand Prix, Colorado (with Champ Car World Series)
September 1-3 Mosport Raceway, Toronto, Canada
The Champ Car Atlantic championship is the world famous feeder category to the Champ Car World Series. That championship competes at many famous circuits including the Long Beach Grand Prix, about 30 miles from Frankie’s home in Hollywood, California. Fans will be able to see Frankie race live in front of big crowds in many other cities in the 2007 season including Denver, San Jose, Cleveland, Houston, Montreal, Portland, and more..
Frankie has every intention of continuing his acting career. “Malcolm in the Middle” will come to an end in March after seven successful years and Muniz will next appear in the Disney/Spyglass feature film, “Stay Alive,” a thriller produced by McG, slated for wide release on March 24th.
Pro/Celebrity Race at the Long Beach Grand Prix
William Shatner, John Elway and Martina Navratilova are among the expected field of drivers from film, TV and sports who will battle it out with seven professional drivers April 8 in the 30th Anniversary Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, part of the 32nd Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend.
And, the 10-lap dash for charity will have something new this year – each driver will be behind the wheel of a race-ready Scion tC, the new official car of the event held on the 1.97-mile, 11-turn street circuit.
Practice/qualifying sessions will be held Fri., April 7, with the field expected to take the green flag at 12:15 p.m. Sat., April 8.
Joining Shatner (Captain Kirk in “Star Trek;” “Boston Legal”), NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Elway and International Tennis Hall of Fame Navratilova in the “amateur” ranks will be:
- Antonio Sabato Jr. (“Bold and the Beautiful;” “Melrose Place”)
- Bo Bice (RCA recording artist; American Idol season 4 runner-up)
- Bucky Lasek (Pro skateboarder, X Games gold medalist)
- Dave Mirra (Pro BMX rider, 14 medals at X Games)
- Paul Caine (Publisher, PEOPLE Magazine)
- Roger Cross (“24;” “Taken;” “Peacemaker”)
- Shannon Miller (1996 Olympic Gold Medalist gymnast)
- William Fichtner (“Invasion;” “The Longest Yard;” “Crash”)
- Xzibit (Host of MTV’s “Pimp My Ride;” “8 Mile”)
- Thom Naito, business analyst and on-line charity auction winner
They’ll be rubbing fenders with these professional drivers:
- Patrick Dempsey (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Sweet Home Alabama”)
- Frankie Muniz, returning champion (“Malcolm in the Middle”)
- Todd Bodine (NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series)
- David Reutimann (NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series)
- Johnny Greaves, (Pro Off-Road Truck Race Champion)
- Tom Rudnai (Longo Toyota General Manager)
- Jeff Kincaid, (Pro Off-Road Truck Race champion)
“Having the mix of returning stars with firsthand experience and new drivers with their enthusiasm will combine for one of the most unique races we’ve had to date,” said Les Unger, Toyota’s national motorsports manager. “The Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race draws some of the most competitive celebrity and professional drivers because it offers the high-speed challenge of real racing combined with a worthwhile charitable endeavor.”
Toyota will donate 5,000 dollars to “Racing for Kids” in the name of each celebrity racer, and another 5,000 dollars to the winning racer’s charity of choice. Racing for Kids is a non-profit program benefiting childrens’ hospitals in Long Beach and Orange, CA.
In addition, the ninth annual “PEOPLE Pole Award, sponsored by PEOPLE Magazine, will present a 15,000-dollar donation honoring the polesitter for the race.
In the past 14 years, the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race has generated more than 1.3 million dollars for childrens’ hospitals in Southern California.