RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, CA (January 14, 2000) - PPI Motorsports (PPIM) has signed reigning U.S. Formula Ford 2000 champion Daniel Wheldon to join Andrew Bordin this season in defense of its CART Toyota Atlantic Championship title. Wheldon will ...
RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, CA (January 14, 2000) - PPI Motorsports (PPIM) has signed reigning U.S. Formula Ford 2000 champion Daniel Wheldon to join Andrew Bordin this season in defense of its CART Toyota Atlantic Championship title. Wheldon will contest the series' 12-race schedule in the #3 Jayhard Swift alongside Bordin's #1 MCI WorldCom Swift.
Bordin, 23, of Woodbridge, Ontario (Canada), returns with new sponsor MCI WorldCom after a highly successful 1999 season. In just his second year of Atlantic competition, Bordin earned two wins, his first career pole position and five podium appearances en route to placing third in 1999 championship standings. Bordin has now finished within the top three in championship point standings for two consecutive years, having placed second in 1998 as series Rookie of the Year, and is widely anticipated to be a frontrunner in the 2000 Atlantic title chase.
"I'm really looking forward to returning this season with PPI Motorsports and MCI WorldCom," said Bordin, who will be guided on-track by PPIM's championship-winning engineer Kyle Brannan. "We worked hard together last year and made a lot of progress, both as a team and for me personally. I think that experience, and the chemistry we have built together, will definitely be advantages for us. I feel more comfortable and more prepared for competition than I ever have."
"Andrew was an integral part of our best open-wheel season ever," said Cal Wells III, president and owner of PPI Motorsports. "He's got a ton of talent, and he's concentrated that energy into a very mature and aggressive driving style. We're thrilled that he'll be leading the team as we defend our championship title."
Wheldon, 21, of Buckinghamshire, England, joins PPIM on the Atlantic circuit after a phenomenal rookie year in U.S. Formula Ford 2000 competition. In 14 events, Wheldon claimed six wins, eleven podium finishes and five pole positions (starting within the top four in every event) en route to earning 1999's overall championship title. Wheldon also took home the U.S. Formula Ford 2000 Oval Crown with one win and two seconds on the circuit's three oval tracks - an impressive feat, considering Wheldon had never before competed on an oval.
"This is an excellent opportunity to move into what is known as one of the toughest championships in the U.S.," said Wheldon. "It's an absolute dream. Everyone on the PPI Motorsports team is very professional, and they have the hunger to do very, very well. We have the same goals, so I plan to work hard, stay focused, learn as much as I can and be as consistent as possible for a good finish in the championship."
As the current US FF2000 champion, Wheldon was afforded the opportunity this past December to test a PPI Motorsports Atlantic car as part of the Atlantic series ladder system program. The test, which has been conducted annually for US FF2000 Championship title winners, allowed PPI Motorsports the chance to evaluate Wheldon's driving abilities firsthand.
"Dan handled the car and the pressures of a first-time test situation beautifully," said Nick Harvey, PPIM's Atlantic program manager. "He did more than prove himself on the track, and he provided excellent feedback to the team. Having also watched his career with great interest this past year, I am confident that Dan will make the transition into the Atlantic series without a hitch. We're looking forward to a highly competitive season on both fronts."
Both Bordin and Wheldon are scheduled to begin pre-season testing on the Homestead-Miami Speedway oval this weekend in preparation for the track's season-opening double-header March 25 and 26.
Biographical Information Full Name: Daniel Wheldon Birthdate: June 22, 1978 Residence: Buckinghamshire, England Height: 5'9" Birthplace: Buckinghamshire, England Weight: 142 lbs.
Background Dan Wheldon, a rookie in the 1999 U.S. Formula Ford 2000 series, claimed six wins, eleven podium finishes and five pole positions with Primus Racing en route to clinching the 1999 championship title. Wheldon's phenomenal '99 season also marked his oval debut, in which he took home one first and two second-place finishes to secure the U.S. Formula Ford 2000 Oval Crown.
After eight record-setting years on the British and international karting circuits, Wheldon made the transition to single-seaters in the 1996 British Formula Vauxhall Junior Championship. Wheldon completed his rookie season with three victories and was named a finalist for the prestigious McLaren/Autosport Young Driver of the Year Award. Wheldon then advanced to Formula Ford in 1997, where he earned seven wins and another McLaren/Autosport Young Driver of the Year nomination through two seasons of competition.
Career Experience U.S. Formula Ford 2000, British Formula Ford, Formula Vauxhall, British Junior Kart Championship
Championships U.S. Formula Ford 2000 (1999) Ayrton Senna Memorial World Championship (1995) British Junior Kart Championships (1988, 1989, 1990 and 1993)
Notable Wins/Honors Only driver to win every round of the British Junior Kart Championship (1989) CIK/FIA Ayrton Senna Memorial World Kart Cup (1997) McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year finalists (1996 and 1997)