TOP AMERICAN TALENT COLIN FLEMING TO JOIN GELLES RACING FOR REMAINDER OF 2006 ATLANTIC SEASON INDIANAPOLIS (July 17, 2006) -- Fresh off the team's first victory in the Yokohama Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda...
TOP AMERICAN TALENT COLIN FLEMING TO JOIN GELLES RACING FOR REMAINDER OF 2006 ATLANTIC SEASON
INDIANAPOLIS (July 17, 2006) -- Fresh off the team's first victory in the Yokohama Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda last round in Toronto, Gelles Racing unveiled some more good news on Monday. Colin Fleming (#14 Western Union), one of America's top rising racing stars that has spent the last several seasons competing in Europe, has joined the team and will race at all remaining events on the 2006 Atlantic calendar.
Fleming will team another talented young American driver in the Gelles Racing stable, rookie Robbie Pecorari (#28 Western Union/USA Today/Gelles Racing), who brought the squad it's first Atlantic victory on July 9 when he led wire-to-wire on the streets of Toronto.
"It is so exciting to be racing again in America in the Champ Car Atlantic Championship with Gelles Racing," said Fleming. "It's a culture shock after three years in Europe, but I think I can use the experience and hard-driving style in my favor. I have heard only good things about the new Swift car, the championship and the high level of racing this year. Gelles Racing has become one of the best teams in the series and I know we're going to be competitive fairly quickly. I've known the Pecorari family from my karting years and teaming up with Robbie, who just won the last round in Toronto, will make it all the more exciting."
Fleming, the 22-year-old native of North Hills, California, will join the team and compete at this weekend's Round 8 of the Champ Car Atlantic Championship -- the West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix Presented by The Brick in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
First identified as one of the future stars of open-wheel racing after winning numerous karting titles and the 2001 CART Stars of Tomorrow championship at age 17, Fleming also earned the Skip Barber-CART scholarship in 2002. He raced in the '02 Formula Dodge National Championship and won the Barber Dodge Pro Series scholarship that season. After winning Rookie-of-the-Year honors following the 2003 Barber Dodge Pro Series season, Fleming was selected to participate in the Red Bull Driver Search program. Designed to help cultivate America's leading drivers into the next generation of Formula One stars, Fleming began racing in Europe and his skills shined on the international stage. Excelling alongside fellow American Red Bull driver and current F1 star Scott Speed, Fleming was impressive in the both the European and German Formula Renault championships in 2004, posting four wins and 15 podium finishes.
He joined the ultra-competitive World Series by Renault in 2005, racing against current Atlantic championship leader Simon Pagenaud (#15 Team Australia/Location U/Cons. Gen. Vienne). Fleming returned to compete in the series this season and was ranked seventh in the championship when he elected to return to the U.S. at the end of June in order to develop his skills in North America. His desire to prove himself against some of the top international competition in the Atlantic Championship this season led him to Gelles Racing.
"I am truly elated to have Colin join our Atlantic effort beginning in Edmonton," said team owner Bob Gelles. "In the last five years I have done much scouting in the national karting series and formula support series. I had noticed this talented driver early and I'm very happy our paths finally cross. He is an awesome talent and a front-running driver fresh out of the top Renault ladder series. He will be a great addition to our Atlantic team."
The dynamic all-American combination of Fleming and Pecorari on the Gelles Racing squad should be an exciting one to watch over the remaining five rounds of Champ Car Atlantic competition this season.
The Champ Car Atlantic Championship continues to be the premier open-wheel development series in North America. In its 33rd season in 2006, the championship is noted for its long history of graduating its stars into Champ Car competition and has helped produce past Champ Car champions Paul Tracy, Jimmy Vasser, Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan, Michael Andretti and Jacques Villeneuve. 2006 Champ Car competitors Alex Tagliani, Andrew Ranger, Katherine Legge, Tonis Kasemets and 2005 Atlantic champion Charles Zwolsman are established Atlantic graduates along with 2004 Champ Car Rookie of the Year and 2003 Atlantic champ A.J. Allmendinger. Competing in newly-designed Swift 016.a chassis powered by a 2.3-liter Mazda-Cosworth engine riding on Yokohama ADVAN Racing Slicks, 2006 competitors will fight for the 12-race championship and the unique $2 million Champ Car series champion's bonus. For more information on the series and to view this season's races on demand, please visit www.champcaratlantic.com.