ATLANTIC OPEN TEST CONCLUDES AT CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY WITH JONATHAN BOMARITO LEADING DEEP AND FAST FIELD FONTANA, California (March 22, 2006) -- The last two days offered the first opportunity for the teams of the Yokohama Presents the...
ATLANTIC OPEN TEST CONCLUDES AT CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY WITH JONATHAN BOMARITO LEADING DEEP AND FAST FIELD
FONTANA, California (March 22, 2006) -- The last two days offered the first opportunity for the teams of the Yokohama Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda to test the brand-new 2006 Atlantic cars. But after viewing the results of Tuesday's and Wednesday's test sessions at the California Speedway infield road course, it seemed as if American rising star Jonathan Bomarito had been driving the new Atlantic since his feet could reach the pedals.
Testing under sunny skies and 70-degree temperatures Wednesday on the 1.495-mile road circuit, Atlantic competitors continued to log the miles while they tested the limits of the new Mazda-Cosworth/Swift 016.a/Yokohama machine. With the 2006 season opener fast approaching, Atlantic teams took full advantage of the perfect testing conditions to make final preparations on their cars before the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 7-9.
Bomarito and the PR1 Motorsports team seemed to dial in quickly on the setup of the new car as the Monterey, California native posted the top lap in three of the four timed sessions over the course of the two-day test. Overall, Bomarito's quick time of 58.311 (92.298 mph), established in Wednesday's morning session, surfaced as the top mark among all 29 drivers that recorded times at the open test.
"I'm a little surprised because I thought we'd have more development on the car throughout the test because it is so new and we're still figuring it out, but we were fast from the word 'go' and that just shows how good the team is," said Bomarito, the 2003 U.S. Formula Ford Zetec champion. The 24-year-old had the distinction of leading a very competitive field of testers that saw the top 19 lap times separated by less than a second. "This Atlantic field is going to be unbelievable," added Bomarito. "I've never seen anything like it. There's got to be 20 guys out there that can win a race this year."
Another one of those talented racers is South African Stephen Simpson. The Gelles Racing pilot emerged with the second-fastest time of the test as he clocked a lap of 58.389 (92.175 mph), also in the Wednesday morning session. "It's been a very good first two days in Champ Car Atlantic," said the 22-year-old Simpson, who's been racing for his native country over the last few months in the A1 Grand Prix series. "I got to know the team and I got to develop the car as best as possible before Long Beach. Overall the car was great to drive, very enjoyable. It was a good day for us today. I can't wait for Long Beach in two weeks time."
After finishing with the third-fastest lap on the scoring chart Tuesday, James Hinchcliffe of Canada finished in the same position at the conclusion of the test, posting a quick mark of 58.396 (92.164 mph) in today's final session. "Overall, the past two days have been great," said the Forsythe Racing rookie. "We had our first problems of the test in the very last session, so still having the third-fastest time is pretty good. The car is really well set-up, but we started to have some mechanical issues. It's good it happened now and not at the first session at Long Beach. We know where the weak points are and how to fix them. The team has done a fantastic job and I can't thank them enough."
With nearly all drivers logging at least 150 miles over the two days, the new-generation Atlantic passed its first true test with flying colors. The test was run without any major incidents until late in the day on Wednesday when American Nick Jones, testing for Jensen Motorsport, got together with another car in Turn 1. Jones' car went off track and flipped before coming to rest. Although the car was badly damaged, Jones didn't suffer any significant injuries.
<pre> Combined lap times from the two-day test at California Speedway follow:
Jonathan Bomarito PR1 Motorsports 58.311 92.298 mph Stephen Simpson Gelles Racing 58.389 92.175 mph James Hinchcliffe Forsythe Championship Racing 58.396 92.164 mph Graham Rahal Mi-Jack Conquest Racing 58.508 91.987 mph Raphael Matos Sierra Sierra Enterprises 58.551 91.920 mph Norbert Siedler Brooks Associates Racing 58.556 91.912 mph Andreas Wirth Forsythe Championship Racing 58.630 91.796 mph Leonardo Maia Forsythe Championship Racing 58.632 91.793 mph Simon Pagenaud Team Australia 58.694 91.696 mph Robbie Pecorari Gelles Racing 58.771 91.576 mph Richard Philippe Forsythe Championship Racing 58.778 91.565 mph Danilo Dirani Condor Motorsports 58.906 91.366 mph David Martinez US RaceTronics 58.947 91.302 mph Alan Sciuto Polestar Racing Group 58.963 91.278 mph Charles Hall Transnet Racing 59.060 91.128 mph Alex Barron Polestar Racing Group 59.117 91.040 mph Tim Bridgman Jensen Motorsport 59.121 91.034 mph Mike Forest PR1 Motorsports 59.137 91.009 mph Luis Schiavo Brooks Associates Racing 59.179 90.944 mph Daniel Gaunt Newman/Wachs Racing 59.571 90.346 mph Joe D'Agostino Newman/Wachs Racing 59.571 90.346 mph James Davison Team Australia 59.700 90.151 mph Tonis Kasemets Transnet Racing 59.795 90.008 mph Justin Sofio Mathiasen Motorsports 1:00.690 88.680 mph Kyle Kelley McAtee Motorsports 1:00.934 88.325 mph Nick Jones Jensen Motorsport 1:00.951 88.300 mph Dan Selznick The Room Store 1:02.105 86.660 mph Ryan Spencer-Smith NCDL Tech 1:04.880 82.953 mph Brian McAtee McAtee Motorsports 1:05.337 82.373 mph