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LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- After an evaluation of its participation in motorsport, Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. (B&W) has announced today that it will end its sponsorship program at the end of the current racing season.
The Louisville, Ky.-based tobacco company's involvement with motorsport began in 1996 through its partnership with Team Green in the Indy Lights open wheel racing series in support of the company's KOOL cigarette brand. B&W, the nation's third-largest manufacturer and marketer of cigarettes, also sponsored a driver-development program and was a co-title sponsor of the Toyota Atlantic Championship Series. KOOL and Team Green entered the CART FedEx Championship for Champ Cars in 1997.
"The decision to end our motorsport sponsorship program was a very difficult one to make," said Ludo Cremers, B&W's divisional vice president. "Our Team KOOL Green sponsorship program has played a key role in the revitalization of the KOOL brand in the United States."
"However, the brand has evolved and the fit with motor racing has become less and less optimal, making it increasingly difficult to achieve an acceptable business return on our motorsport investment. As hard as it was to make this decision, we know it is in the best interests of our current and future business needs."
B&W invested more than $120 million in the program since 1996.