INDIANAPOLIS (January 24, 2003) - In addition to the teams that represented the recently-announced 16 entries for the 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, several other Atlantic programs are also coming together.
Chief among those teams is Reynoldsburg, Ohio-based Michael Shank Racing, which has competed in the series for the past eight seasons. According to team owner Mike Shank, a two-time Atlantic Team Owner of the Year, the team has every intention of competing in the 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, likely with two cars. The team has tested 10 drivers since the end of last season, and Shank reports that several deals are in the works, with a few approaching completion.
Likewise, another Buckeye State team, Chardon-based Polestar Motor Racing, is working diligently to put a program together for 2003 as well. Polestar, which is being operated by long-time Atlantic competitors Jim and Pam Griffith, acquired all of the Atlantic equipment from Sigma Autosport, which competed in the series last season with Rocky Moran Jr. and David Wieringa. The team also has its own partial funding, and is in negotiations with a few drivers to complete the program.
Tucson, Ariz.-based Brooks Associates Racing (formerly known as BBGP Racing) is in the process of putting together a two-car program that will compete full-time in the 2003 Toyota Atlantic Championship. The team will be moving to a new facility in Tucson within the next month that will house the team's race operations, as well as its marketing efforts. Team owner John Brooks explained that the team is currently talking to a number of drivers and that he is "cautiously optimistic" that deals for both cars will fall into place shortly.
Long-time Atlantic competitors Condor Motorsports from Bloomington, Calif. are also actively seeking a program for 2003. Team owner Carlos Bobeda has been in contact with several drivers from all over the world, but the team and drivers have not yet secured the necessary funding to compete.
JPT Motorsports out of Oceanside, Calif. is also hard at work in putting together a package for 2003 after fielding a car for DeWayne Cassel at Portland last year. Team owner Joe Tobin said that the team has a building full of equipment with one brand new Swift 014.a and another that has run just one race and a practice session last year at Cleveland. The team is actively searching for funding and a driver to complete its puzzle for the '03 season.
Dorricott Racing, Lynx Racing, Scuadra Fortia and Sierra Sierra Racing are also in the process of finding funding for additional cars to run alongside each of the teams' previously announced drivers.
The 12-race, 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship gets underway at Fundidora Park in Monterrey, Mexico on the weekend of March 23.
The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship is one of the world's premier open-wheel development series and the top rung on CART's "Ladder System." The series boasts $100,000 race purses and a one million dollar points fund. It is also noted for its long history of graduating its stars into Champ Car competition. Among the drivers who have graduated from Atlantic are current Champ Car stars Jimmy Vasser, Patrick Carpentier, Alex Tagliani, and Ryan Hunter-Reay as well as former Champ Car champions Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan, Michael Andretti and Jacques Villeneuve.