JONATHAN BOMARITO SETS PACE IN FIRST DAY OF ATLANTIC OPEN TEST AT CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY FONTANA, California (March 21, 2006) -- There were two common themes shared by all participants in the first of two open test days for the Yokohama Presents...
JONATHAN BOMARITO SETS PACE IN FIRST DAY OF ATLANTIC OPEN TEST AT CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY
FONTANA, California (March 21, 2006) -- There were two common themes shared by all participants in the first of two open test days for the Yokohama Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda at California Speedway. The first was, "Wow, this is cold for California," and the second was "Wow, this new Atlantic car runs awesome."
Out of the 29 entries at the two-day test session, 24 drivers ran under cloudy skies and cold and windy conditions Tuesday at the 1.49-mile infield road circuit at California Speedway. But while the temperatures were in 50s, the spirits were bright and feedback was positive in the first test session for all 2006 Atlantic competitors with the new-generation Mazda-Cosworth/Swift 016.a/Yokohama cars. Teams turned mainly trouble-free laps throughout the course of the day and times began to drop as the teams started to figure out the setups on their new machines, which were delivered on March 8.
Jonathan Bomarito of PR1 Motorsports got off to a quick start in the new Atlantic, topping both the morning and afternoon sessions on the timing charts. Bomarito clocked a top lap of 58.666 (91.740 mph) late in the afternoon to lead all series testers.
"First off all I have to thank everyone at PR1 for their hard work," said Bomarito, a native of Monterey, California who earned one podium result among seven Atlantic starts in 2004. "(Team owner) Bobby Oergel and the whole team worked so hard over the past two weeks to put this car together and they did a fantastic job. Being quickest on the first test day doesn't really mean a whole lot in the big picture, but it means a lot mentally for the team and our confidence and it shows what a great job they've done. I hope this is the beginning of a big year for us."
Rookie Simon Pagenaud of Team Australia emerged with the second-fastest lap of the day at 58.694 (91.696 mph). The French racer, who excelled in European competition before joining the Atlantic Championship earlier this month, was impressed with the new car. "I was really surprised how good the car was right away," said the native of Montmorillon, France. "The power was good and the braking was incredible. I think the team did a fantastic job getting it ready for the test."
Canadian first-year driver James Hinchcliffe completed the top-three test times of the day with a lap of 58.893 (91.386 mph) as 12 cars were separated by less than a second in the deep and talented Atlantic field. "All in all it was a very good day," said Hinchcliffe, one four Forsythe Championship Racing drivers that performed well on the first day with the new Atlantic. "Between all four of us we ran a lot of laps with virtually no problems. Thanks to everyone at Forsythe who made us all look good out there. These cars are ready to go racing right now."
With the 2006 season opener at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach just over two weeks away (April 7-9), Champ Car Atlantic teams want to take advantage of every single lap to get a feel for their new cars. Another full day of testing is scheduled for Wednesday on the 17-turn course as warmer temperatures are expected to greet competitors on Wednesday.
<pre> Combined lap times from Tuesday's testing at California Speedway
Jonathan Bomarito PR1 Motorsports 58.666 sec 91.740 mph Simon Pagenaud Team Australia 58.694 sec 91.696 mph James Hinchcliffe Forsythe Championship Racing 58.893 sec 91.386 mph Andreas Wirth Forsythe Championship Racing 58.985 sec 91.244 mph Graham Rahal Mi-Jack Conquest Racing 59.037 sec 91.163 mph Alex Barron Polestar Racing Group 59.139 sec 91.006 mph Richard Philippe Forsythe Championship Racing 59.252 sec 90.832 mph Raphael Matos Sierra Sierra Enterprises 59.324 sec 90.722 mph David Martinez US RaceTronics 59.340 sec 90.698 mph Leonardo Maia Forsythe Championship Racing 59.481 sec 90.483 mph Charles Hall Transnet Racing 59.515 sec 90.431 mph Norbert Siedler Brooks Associates Racing 59.597 sec 90.307 mph Stephen Simpson Gelles Racing 59.744 sec 90.084 mph Robbie Pecorari Gelles Racing 59.805 sec 89.992 mph Tim Bridgman Jensen Motorsport 59.846 sec 89.931 mph Danilo Dirani Condor Motorsports 59.854 sec 89.919 mph Mike Forest PR1 Motorsports 59.856 sec 89.916 mph Joe D'Agostino Newman/Wachs Racing 59.964 sec 89.754 mph Luis Schiavo Brooks Associates Racing 1:00.079 sec 89.582 mph Alan Sciuto Polestar Racing Group 1:00.702 sec 88.663 mph Nick Jones Jensen Motorsport 1:01.991 sec 86.819 mph Tonis Kasemets Transnet Racing 1:03.284 sec 85.045 mph Dan Selznick The Room Store 1:03.757 sec 84.414 mph Justin Sofio Mathiasen Motorsports 1:05.557 sec 82.096 mph