FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 1997 KOOL/TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE ANNOUNCED New Race Added at Cleveland HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (Oct. 29) - - The series name will be new in 1997, but competitors in the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
1997 KOOL/TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE ANNOUNCED New Race Added at Cleveland
HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (Oct. 29) - - The series name will be new in 1997, but competitors in the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship will return to many familiar venues next season.
With only minor date changes, the 12-race 1997 schedule for North America's longest running and richest open-wheel development series will feature a return trip to each of the 11 circuits that have hosted Atlantic events last year, and an inaugural visit to Cleveland, Ohio.
Ten of the 12 Atlantic races will be held in conjunction with PPG Indy Car World Series events. As in previous years, the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship will also take center stage as the Saturday feature race at the prestigious Grand Prix Player's du Canada, North America's only Formula One race, and will be the premier race at the historic Grand Prix Player's de Trois Rivieres in Quebec.
The 1997 season will run on a variety of racing venues including oval tracks, road courses, and street circuits. Eight races will be hosted in the United States and four in Canada.
For the second straight year, the season will open at Homestead Motorsports Complex and the Grand Prix of Miami, presented by Toyota, on March 1 around the 2.21-mile (3.56-km) oval- road course combination specially designed for, and exclusive to, Atlantic competitors.
The first half of the season will conclude on July 13 with the series first-ever visit to Cleveland's Burke Lakefront Airport. 1997's season finale will be Sept. 6 at the Toyota Grand Prix of Monterey from Laguna Seca Raceway in California.
"The addition of Cleveland and the series return to each and every racing venue from last year affirms that the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship is healthy, highly visible, and well recognized by today's race promoters as a valuable asset to their events," said Vicki O'Connor, president of Pro-Motion Agency Ltd., the company which administers the Atlantic series. "Furthermore, the high caliber of talent and competition in the Atlantic driver ranks has ensured the series of remaining on the cutting edge as a premier Indy Car training ground."
1997 series prize money will exceed $1.25 million, including $85,000 per-race purse and increased per-race contingency awards. Details of the series' international television package will be announced at a later date.
The KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship begins its 24th year as North America's premier and longest-running open-wheel development series. It has graduated more drivers to Formula One and Indy Car in North America than any other development series, with 1996 Formula One World Championship runner-up and Rookie-of-the-Year Jacques Villeneuve, 1996 PPG Indy Car World Series champion Jimmy Vasser, and Richie Hearn as the most recent examples.
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