Cleveland: Josh Hunt preview

Gold Coast teenager Josh Hunt is looking to fly high in his Wright Patton Shakespeare entry this weekend as the Toyota Atlantic Championship heads to one of the world's longest running and unique temporary circuits at the Burke Lakefront Airport...

Gold Coast teenager Josh Hunt is looking to fly high in his Wright Patton Shakespeare entry this weekend as the Toyota Atlantic Championship heads to one of the world's longest running and unique temporary circuits at the Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, USA.

Continuing to building on the momentum that has been on a steep rise since joining the Lynx Racing outfit at the start of the Championship Hunt can't wait to get back behind the wheel of his Wright Patton Shakespeare Swift.

Already this year Hunt has shown tremendous maturity with his approach towards the Championship.

"Racing over here is amazing buzz, since I was given the opportunity to compete in the Championship it is all I have been focused on, day in day out eating, sleeping, drinking Toyota Atlantic and Champ cars," said Hunt.

"It has been a steep learning curve adapting to the higher powered Atlantic cars but one I have really enjoyed so far and can't wait for the next round this weekend.

"Life is all about challenges and accepting the challenges presented to you."

Accepting those challenges is what Hunt has done to the best of his ability thus far in 2004 recording a top ten finish in his Toyota Atlantic debut in Longbeach. He has since backed this good result up with a further two successive top ten finishes.

"It has simply been a case of focusing on the job at hand and ensuring that we take full advantage of every opportunity myself and the team has to improve," said Hunt.

"Over the past five years I have lost count of the number of tracks that I have had to learn quickly through karting in Europe and here in America along with racing the Formula Zetec in the US late last year.

"This weekend will be no different on a circuit that will have racecars replace planes for one weekend a year, it is going to be a unique weekend. With everything going right hopefully it will be a unique one that will finish with another good result."

This year will mark the 23rd year that the Burke Lakefront Airport has hosted the Cleveland Champ Car event.

All Toyota Atlantic cars are manufactured by Swift Engineering and powered by a 1600cc Toyota engine 240 horsepower producing speeds in excess of 160 mph (260 kmh) while using a 15-inch diameter lightweight aluminium wheels mounted with Yokohama tyres.

Run in conjunction with the opening round of the Champ Car World Series, this is the 31st year of competition for the Toyota Atlantic Championship and is regarded as the premier training ground for the future stars of the sport.

Hunt is the first Australian to compete in the Toyota Atlantic Series since fellow Queenslander David Besnard in 1999 and has received major support from Wright Patton Shakespeare Financial Group, which is owned by Gold Coast businessman Craig Gore and Champ Car World Series Co-Owner and Aussie Kevin Kalkhoven.

A successful year in the Toyota Atlantic Championship will see Hunt make his Champ Car debut in the Lexmark Indy 300 on the streets of the Gold Coast on October 21-24.

The Toyota Atlantic race at the Cleveland is the six of 12 rounds in the Championship. All 12 scheduled races this year will be run in conjunction with Champ Car World Series events on tracks that include road courses and ovals, as well as street and airport circuits with eight rounds in America, one in Mexico and three in Canada.

Practice for round six of the Toyota Atlantic Championship around the 2.106mile (3.389km) circuit begins this Thursday July 1 at 10:45am followed by the opening qualifying session in the afternoon. A further practice and qualifying session will be conducted at 9:15am and 1:00pm respectively on Friday July 2. The 32-lap race will commence at 2:30pm on Saturday July 3.

The local time in Cleveland is 14 hours behind Australian Eastern Standard time.

-jhr-

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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers David Besnard , Josh Hunt , Kevin Kalkhoven