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Matos Steps up to Atlantic Series
Posted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 11:36 am
2005 Star Mazda Series champion Raphael Matos will be the second Star Mazda driver, following Graham Rahal, to make the jump into the Atlantic Championship, as he will be driving for Sierra Sierra Enterprises in the 2006 season. He beat out several others drivers, including F3 driver Ryan Lewis, who is testing for several other teams, and 2001 Atlantic Championship series winner Hoover Orsi, who splits his racing time between sportscars in North America and Brazilian stockcars in South America. Here are some quotes from the principles involved.....
Richard Raeder, Owner, Sierra Sierra Enterprises:
Lap times are critical, and our driver candidates tested very fast last week. Beyond the stopwatch, Sierra Sierra continues to bring on drivers who stand to gain the most from a competitive opportunity in the Atlantics for the advancement of their careers. We greatly appreciate the drivers who formearded resumes and showed a desire to be with our team.
Raphael Matos, 2005 Star Mazda Series Champion:
I am glad to be part of Sierra Sierra. It was great to sit down in the car last week and complete some very fast laps. Dave (Empringham), Gerald (Tyler) and Richard have an incredible depth of knowledge in this sport and they work together like a fine-tuned machine. I believe this is the best program in the Atlantic series, and we have what it takes to win this year.
David Empringham, 2-time Atlantic Champion/Sierra Sierra Driver Coach:
We have found a diamond in the rough. Raphael is a natural-born racer, with raw speed, intense focus, the ability to provide accurate feedback, a hunger to win, and a great personality. He is unquestionably championship material and I believe we could not have found a better and more deserving driver to represent Sierra Sierra in our quest for the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Champioship.
Raphael Matos's race resume.....
1993-2000, began racing in karting events
2001-Chevrolet Formula Junior Champion, Brazil
2002-Formula Dodge Midwest Champion, USA
2003-Formula Dodge National Champion, USA
2004-7th place, Star Mazda Series, USA
2005-Star Mazda Series Champion, USA
Lloyd tests Atlantic car for Jensen Mtrspts.
Posted: Tue Jan 03, 2006 4:11 am
For Autosport BRDC Award Winner Alex Lloyd, it was a successful 2-day testing session at Savannah, Ga.'s Roebling Road Test Track on 19-20 Dec. as he tested for Jensen Motorsports. In testing that was conducted in 60-deg.(F) weather, Lloyd came close to beating the course record, set by former Jensen driver Adam Pecorari back in 2004. Here are some quotes from those involved......
Alex Lloyd, A1GP Driver, Team Great Britain:
The two days went very well. Jensen MotorSport were very professional and a real pleasure to work with. Engineer Adam Marchitto was very knowledgeable and helped me to learn as fast as possible how to make these cars go quickly as they are very different to an F3000 or A1GP car. I got down to a good time quickly and from then on it was a matter of working on myself and the car to get the time down to the fastest we possibly could. I am very satisifed with my ultimate time as it was just four-tenths off the fastest time on record. I believe that on another day with the right conditions, that record would be mine.
Eric Jensen, Owner, Jensen Motorsports:
Alex was a real treat to work with. His feedback and technical knowledge is without question among the best we have ever experienced while working with various drivers. It is not surprising that Alex wins every shootout in which he competes, such as the McLaren Autosport Young Driver Award. We are working currently with Alex on some sponsorship with a view of having Alex join Jensen Motorsports for the 2006 season and beyond.
Adam Marchitti, Chief Engineer, Jensen Motorsports:
In fairly (cool) weather, Alex had a best time of 1:07.7, which is an impressive time considering the track temperatures, and that Alex only had two chances on new Yokohama tires. We suspect that Alex could (best) Adam Pecorari's record if we return to Savannah for another test day later this off-season.
Forsythe Championship Racing's "Atlantic Superteam"
Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 3:22 pm
Back in the mid-to-late-1990's the dominant Toyota Atlantic team was Gerry Forsythe's Forsythe Atlantic squad, which featured then-rising stars David Empringham, Patrick Carpentier, and Alex Tagliani. There were'nt for a few years a more feared
team on the Atlantic grid, and now the team is returning after being absent from the series since 1999. In a press conference today, team owner Forsythe announced their return to a revamped Atlantic Championship with the creation of a "Superteam"(in Forsythe's words). The team will feature four young, talented drivers with diverse racing backgrounds:1-James Hinchcliffe, recently of Formula BMW and Star Madza; 2-Andreas Wirth, who has one year of Atlantic racing under his belt from 2005; 3-Richard Phillipe, younger brother of current Champ Car driver Nelson Phillipe who also has F-BMW experience, and 4-Leonardo Maia, the eldest of the four who has driven in several Atlantics races over the past two years and who has a title to his credit(2003 Barber Dodge Pro Series). Here are some quotes from Forsythe VP of Operations Neil Micklewright, who will oversee the team and the four themselves.....
Neil Micklewright, VP of Operations, Forsythe Championship Racing:
We saw the newly revamped Champ Car Atlantic series as being an incredible opportunity for young drivers. We wanted to become a big part of it and reestablish our driver development program. With $2 million dollars up for grabs for the series champion we decided to jump in with both feet and seek out the cream of the crop for our assault on the championship. With the signing of these four young drivers we've accomplished the first part of our program and now we'll get to work winning races. Long Beach is going to be an incredible weekend and it's difficult to contain our excitement.
Leonardo Maia, FCR-Atlantic:
I am very honored and excited to be driving for Forsythe Championship Racing and alongside my new teammates. Team Forsythe has had great success in every series they have taken part in, and I hope I can extend that championship tradition. After (almost) missing a year in racing, I am very anxious to get going!
James Hinchcliffe, FCR-Atlantic:
Signing with Forsythe is an amazing opportunity. I don't think there is a driver in the Atlantic field this year who did not dream about driving with one of the best teams in Champ Car. It's great to be with a team that has such a strong and successful history with Canadian drivers. Many of my racing heroes have driven with Forsythe and it feels really good to add my name to that list. This year's Championship is going to be mega. The driver incentive program and new car has lit a fire under this series and attracted a lot of talented drivers from all over the world. I know our team will be well-prepared and I can't wait to hit the streets of Long Beach and see what we can do.
Richard Phillipe, FCR-Atlantic:
I am really happy to be part of Forsythe Racing for the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Championship, as I am sure it will be a very successful year for both of us! I believe the only thing Forsythe Racing wants to do is win, which is the perfect position for me as it is the only thing I want to achieve this year. I'm confident we will have the best package.
Andreas Wirth, FCR-Atlantic:
I'm really looking forward to this year's Championship. It will be very competitive and it's the same for everybody; no one knows the car already, so it comes back to the driver and the team. It is a great opportunity from Champ Car to put all the prize money out there which makes it really interesting for a lot of drivers all over the world! I know that I'm with one of the best teams out there and I'm confident to be in the fight for the championship. I'm really happy to drive for the Forsythe Atlantic team and want to thank all the people and sponsors who helped me to make this happen. I'm ready to go and can't wait until eveything starts now!
Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 3:36 pm
KL will blow them to the boondocks
Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 3:47 pm
I wouldn't quite bet on it, julian. The rumor mill rumblings have Legge jumping up to Champ Car this year, not 2007. Apparently some of the teams are working on new driver lineups for 2006, and provided Vasser retires prior to the '06 opener, PKV's lineup'll include Legge and another new driver(most likely Servia). Of course, considering we are in "silly season", who knows?
Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 3:57 pm
That was my way of finding out what's happening with Legge
Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 6:37 pm
Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 6:40 pm
New Atlantic Cars to be unveiled 14 February
Posted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 1:27 pm
On Valentine's Day, 2006, fans of the Champ Car Atlantic Championship(formerly the Toyota Atlantic Championship) will have a lot to smile about, as series officials will unveil the new Swift-Cosworth Atlantics that will debut on the streets of Long Beach, Ca. April 9th. The car, a Swift Engineering 016.a chassis powered by a 2006-spec 2.3-liter, 300hp Cosworth engine, is to be unveiled at the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, Ca. Vicki O'Connor, Managing Director of the CCAC, said that,
We're very excited to celebrate the official launch of the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Championship race car. This car represents the next generation of Atlantic racing and we wanted to take this opportunity to share with everyone the beauty of this car and celebrate the past and future of the Atlantic series.
Champ Car World Series President Steve Johnson, who was there with several CC officials, noted that,
The Champ Car Atlantic Championship is much more than just a support series -- it is a very competitive major open-wheel proving ground that helps build and develop the future stars and champions of Champ Car racing. We're proud of the tradition of Atlantics and we welcome in the future of the series at this unprecedented event in the rich history of the Atlantic Championship.
CCWS co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven, who has several major announcements concerning PKV Racing's ChampCar and Atlantics driver lineups, also commented on the occasion, saying that,
NOTE:Kalkhoven's "All-American" reference is from the fact that both the chassis', from Swift(based in/around Chicago, IL) and the engines, from Cosworth's Torrance, CA facility, are being built w/in the United States.
This promises to be a fun and exciting evening as we officially launch the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Championship. There's been a tremendous amount of interest in the new Atlantic series with the affordability of the cars, the new racing formula and the unprecedented two million dollar champion's bonus from Champ Car. We're all looking forward to the unveiling of the new All-American Atlantic racing machine on February 14th.
After the unveiling, the cars will get their first drives, as 2002 and 2004 Atlantic champion Jon Fogarty will pilot the vehicle in a closed-media test in mid-February. Following that, Atlantics teams will get their new racecar in early March, with the teams to test on the California Speedway road circuit soon afterwards.
Newman-Haas testing drivers for Atlantic squad
Posted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:48 pm
For the upcoming 2006 CCAC season, it will be a shootout for the new Newman-Wachs Racing Atlantic team, as they will be testing several young guns for their 2-car team this year, at Moroso Mtrspts. Park in early Feb. 2006. Currently set to test for the team, co-owned by NHR co-owner Paul Newman and close associate and former racer Eddie Wachs are: 1}2005 Atlantic runner-up Tonis Kasemets, 2}2005 IRL IndyPro Series driver Phil Giebler(who finished 8th at San Jose in the 2005 Atlantics race), and 3}Alan Sciuto(who became the youngest pole-winner in Atlantics history at Denver). My guess.....chances are Giebler and Sciuto will fight for 1 seat, and Giebler and Kasemets will fight for the other.
2 other drivers, American Tony Loniewski and Brazilian Christiano "Tuka" Rocha are also expected to test; however, the first three mentioned have the best shots at the seats at the moment.
Atlantics teams picking drivers for 2006
Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 1:25 am
This past week saw some activity for the 2006 Atlantic Championship as several teams made decisions on drivers for the upcoming year.....
1}Napa, Ca., based NCDL Racing announce on Wednesday that American Ryan Spencer-Smith will drive for them in 2006. Spencer-Smith, a former Star Mazda and SCCA Formula Mazda & Atlantic driver, has one CCAC start to his credit, at San Jose, where he finished seventh for Jensen Mtrspts.
2}Thursday saw veteran junior-formula series team PR1 Mtrspts. tap two drivers for the 2006 season. The team decided on Canadian Mike Forest and former Atlantic competitor Jonathon Bomarito to pilot the team's 2-car entry for 2006. Both have formula titles under their belts, Bomarito is the 2003 U.S. Formula Ford champion, while Forest won the 2005 Pacific Formula 2000 title.
3}Finally, Friday saw Brooks Associates Racing, which was in contention for the 2005 Atlantic title late in the season w/Andreas Wirth, sign Star Mazda pilot Luis Schiavo to their team for 2006. Schiavo had been in the running for a ChampCar ride w/Dale Coyne's team, but expressed hope that he can use the experiences up to now to have a successful season in 2006.
Atlantics to use standing starts in 2006
Posted: Wed Feb 15, 2006 9:46 am
In the early years of the Atlantic Championship, they always began the races with a Formula-1 style standing start. Well.......they're back...ChampCar Atlantic and CCWS officials announced that the Atlantics will begin phasing in standing starts for 2006, but not at every race on the 12-race schedule. My guess......Cleveland(both rounds), Edmonton, Denver, and probably either Montreal or Road America.
Here's the link if anyone wants to find out more information about this...
CCWS makes key announcements on Atlantic Series
Posted: Wed Feb 15, 2006 3:23 pm
During tonight's unveiling of the 2006-spec Atlantic car to be used in the Champ Car Atlantic Championship, series officials made several key announcements......
1}As reported above, standing starts(just as in F1) will return to the series, beginning at Cleveland for their 2-round weekend....
2}Cosworth will partner with Mazda to build and produce engines for the 2007 season; the engines will be badged under the Mazda marque as the Mazda-Cosworth MZR, with Cosworth providing technical support to Mazda. Further details on this point soon to come....
3}Swift Engineering, which will produce the Swift 016.a chassis for the series, confirmed that they will have the 40+ cars delivered to all the teams no later
than March 18th. The car will get a shakedown test with the assistance of 2-time champion and current American LeMans Series driver Jon Fogarty this month at Firebird Raceway near Phoenix.
4}Finally, two teams made announcements of their own concerning who will drive where in 2006. First, Polestar Racing, which fielded cars in 2005 for Antoine Bessette and new Champ Car driver Katherine Legge, will have 17-yr. old Alan Sciuto in a 1-car effort for 2006. Sciuto is the youngest driver to ever sit on the pole for an Atlantics race, doing so at Denver in 2005. He competed in three races in 2005, finishing 2nd in the Mile High City, 4th at San Jose and 6th at Road America. Meanwhile, Newman-Haas's Atlantics' team, Newman-Wachs Racing, have decided on a 2-car entry, with American Joe D'Agostino, fresh from an outstanding 2005 British Formula Ford season(finished in the top-5 at this year's FF Festival; only the 3rd American to do so in the festival's history) and, according to reports, Kiwi Daniel Gaunt in the other seat.(Note.....they didn't confirm Gaunt, but sources close to the team say it will probably be Gaunt.)
However, the big story of the day was to be found on the Champ Car side of the ledger, as PKV Racing confirmed that British racer Katherine Legge will be racing for the team in 2006, becoming only the fourth woman in the modern era of the sport to compete in the series. Unlike her three predecesors, Janet Guthrie, Desire Wilson and Lyn St. James, who ran in near-obsolescent equipment, legge will be in the same spec FC/L that everyopne else has. In essesnce, Legge became the first woman to receive a full-up, full-time Champ Car ride. Congratulations are definitely in order today.....
Atlantic shakedown test a success
Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 11:55 am
Following the grand debut and unveiling of the 2006-spec Swift-Mazda racecar to be used in the Atlantic Championship for 2006(which, in case anybody asks, is officially known as the Yokohama Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda), the car was shipped out to Firebird Raceway in Arizona where 2-time Atlantic champion Jon Fogarty and CCWS officials gave it a thorough shakedown test on Wednesday. By all accounts, it was a success, as Fogarty, who currently races in the American LeMans Series, did several race runs, short speed runs and multiple standing start tests as those will be returning to the series at Cleveland in 2006. Here are quotes from some of the principles......
Jon Fogarty, 2-time(2002, 2004) Atlantic Champion:
It is an honor to be the first to drive the new car. I wasn't quite sure what to expect but the car performed very well. Everyone has done a great job with the test and I can't wait to get back out on track tomorrow.
Tony Cotman, Champ Car Vice President of Operations(Race Control):
There was a lot of hype this morning from last night's announcement, and the new chassis and engine combination is living up to it. Our goal today was to show up and just run through different systems tests and the car performed magically. All of our suppliers, Yokohama, Swift, Mazda-Cosworth, Pi Research, Performance Friction and Hewland need to be credited. If we get 39 more cars just like this first one, it will be an excellent racing season in Champ Car Atlantics.
More shakedown tests are slated for today; the 33rd season the Atlantic Championship begins in Long Beach, Ca. on April 9th.
Second day tests successful
Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 6:39 pm
Testing continued for a second day at Firebird Raceway as 2-time Atlantic champion Jon Fogarty took the new Atlantics car on several full-length race runs, totaling over 230 miles today and completing over 300 miles in the 2-day tests. Here are some quotes from the tests.....
Jon Fogarty, 2-time(2002, 2004) Atlantic Champion:
Today we really hit our stride getting done what we needed to do. We did two race-distance runs with no problems. The car was consistent and it has good balance. This car rewards hard driving. It's a little more forgiving than the previous Atlantic car and it affords more opportunity to slide the car around a little bit.
Steve Sewell, ChampCar Atlantic Technical Director:
Today we've really been able to make progress verifying functionality of all the car's operating systems. The continued focus of the test is reliability and the putting on of miles on the car and we've found no limits so far. This car is the Energizer Bunny of racecars.
Chris Norris, Chief Design Engineer, Swift Engineering:
As tests go,
so far this one has gone as well as we possibly have hoped for. Any issues we've encountered have been very minor and the car seems to be performing very well.