In a surprise announcement today, the Toyota Atlantic Championship series has revived the C2 category for competition in the 2004 and 2005 seasons. The move is to allow teams to compete using the Swift 008.a chassis.
The Atlantic series is now owned and sanction by Open Wheel Racing Series as one of the CART assets they acquired in a court ruling on January 28, 2004.
"In this difficult economy," commented Toyota Atlantic president Vicki O'Connor. "We are aware of several teams that were not able to put together a proper budget to run the full 2003 schedule with the Swift 014.a chassis."
The end of 2002 showed 32 driver/team combinations at the majority of the races on the 12 event schedule. In 2003, the numbers decreased to 25 drivers listed in the final standings.
O'Connor continued, "We are aware that there are several Swift 008.a chassis currently competing in various club series. It made sense to open our doors to those teams, drivers, and cars and allow them to compete once again in the Toyota Atlantic Championship."
The move is not just cost-effective as it allows a "championship within a championship" according the series officials. Drivers and teams will compete with the teams and drivers who have submitted entries with the newer chassis; both groups will compete for overall victory; however, the C1 and C2 categories will earn separate points and a champion will be crowned in both classes.
Not only will the chassis be different, the series will also allow the use of different engine builders for the C2 class. The chassis and engines will have to comply with series' technical rules.