Canadian Racers to Meet On Track Montreal, Canada (Wednesday 06 June, 2007) -- A1 Team Canada drivers, Toronto's James Hinchcliffe and Saint-Eustache's Kevin Lacroix, having been team-mates in the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport will ...
Canadian Racers to Meet On Track
Montreal, Canada (Wednesday 06 June, 2007) -- A1 Team Canada drivers, Toronto's James Hinchcliffe and Saint-Eustache's Kevin Lacroix, having been team-mates in the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport will finally meet on-track this weekend with both racers scheduled to participate in Rounds 4 and 5 of the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda held at the Portland International Raceway, Oregon, Friday 8th -- Sunday 10th June.
Hinchcliffe, who represented Canada in seven of the 11 rounds that comprised the 2006-07 A1GP season, heads to Portland as the defending race champion having won there last year in his rookie Champ Car Atlantic Championship season. The Ontario-native's sole win to-date in the category was the highlight of a year in which he placed 10th overall and was the top-ranked Canadian driver.
A switch to the two-car Sierra Sierra Enterprises outfit for 2007 sees James partnered alongside Brazil's Raphael Matos, another driver who can boast A1GP experience. While Matos romped to three straight wins in April to take the series lead, 'Hinch' has kept himself firmly in the fight as the series gears up for a stretch of eight races over the next seven weeks, including Canadian outings at Mont-Tremblant, Toronto and Edmonton. Currently sitting third in the points, James cracked the podium for the first time this season in Round 3 taking a third place finish on the streets of Houston having started on the front-row of the grid for the second time in three starts.
"Things are going well," stated the 20-year-old when asked to comment on his season so-far. "We didn't quite start as strongly as we'd hoped. Fourth in Las Vegas was good but Long Beach the following weekend was a little bit of a mess with some mechanical issues hampering us off the back of the trailer. Houston was definitely a good event from start to finish; we were in the top-three in every session. I'm up there in the points chase and I'm looking forward to bagging some more points in Portland this weekend hopefully along with some poles and wins!"
Having raced throughout the winter in A1GP, where he scored A1 Team Canada's only podium finish in Round 2's Sprint race in the Czech Republic, James found the experience a useful one heading into his second Atlantic season.
"Competing in A1GP has proved to be a huge benefit to me," Hinchcliffe reflected. "There's no substitute for seat-time in racing and it was great to keep busy and most importantly stay sharp behind the wheel of a race car. I learned a lot from my time in A1GP. It's such a competitive race series and so challenging with its unique qualifying format and Sprint and Feature races. It was great training for me, the race-craft you have to develop competing at such close quarters is something that I'll take and be able to apply throughout my career. Both the Champ Car Atlantic Championship and A1GP boast super competitive fields, so put simply you just can't afford to have a bad day!"
Kevin Lacroix is set to find out just how competitive the Atlantic field is as he prepares to make his series debut this weekend at Portland competing for Brooks Associates Racing. Having concluded a deal to run with the Arizona-based team for the remainder of the 2007 season, the 18-year-old from Quebec is set to compete against his A1 Team Canada team-mate, James Hinchcliffe, having worked together through the second-half of the 2006-07 A1GP season.
"My deal to race in Atlantics came together pretty late but I'm just happy to be racing in the series," commented Lacroix. "We had a good test together last week at the Firebird track in Arizona. The car's slower than the A1GP car but it's pretty nimble and you can really carry your speed through the corners. I finished second in the Star Mazda race in Portland last season so I'm looking forward to going back there and making my Atlantic debut."
Lacroix joined A1 Team Canada's driver line-up in February to fulfill Friday morning 'Rookie' duties in South Africa. The 2006 Star Mazda Series runner-up subsequently completed the hour-long 'Rookie-Only' session in Mexico, China and Great Britain, assisting the team before handing over race duties to Hinchcliffe and latterly B.C.'s Sean McIntosh.