Firebird test, then Long Beach

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill., (February 20, 2001) -- After months of single team testing, the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship teams will get their first chance to see where they stack up. A series-wide test organized by Chuck West, owner of World Speed...

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill., (February 20, 2001) -- After months of single team testing, the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship teams will get their first chance to see where they stack up. A series-wide test organized by Chuck West, owner of World Speed Motorsports will be held March 7-8 at Firebird International Raceway.

Approximately 15 to 20 cars are expected to take part in the test at the track located in Chandler, Arizona, just on the outskirts of Phoenix. The test will be held on the 10-turn, 1.25 mile East Course which is the same circuit that many of the CART FedEx Championship cars tested on over the winter. This will mark the first time in 2001 that the Atlantic cars have had the chance to get on track with each other. The Firebird test will go a long way in helping the teams determine if they are ready to race, or if there is more work to be done. After the test is complete, it will be less than a month until the green flag drops for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, and the start of what should be one of the most competitive seasons in Atlantic history.

"This series wide test session is a good chance to compare ourselves with other teams. It also is a good chance to get our crew with some of the new members in race weekend conditions before we get to Long Beach", said Chuck West who will enter first year Atlantic driver Grant Ryley for World Speed Motorsports. Added Ryley, "We have done some testing by ourselves but this will let us see where we are with everybody else on the track. I have seen the track but have never been on it, so I'm pretty excited to get going. I think we will have a good showing."

Long time supplier of tires to the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, Yokohama Tire will be on location with the PSRG tire truck throughout the test session. Attending the test also, will be Swift, who supplies the sole chassis used in the series. Swift's parts truck will stay on site attending to teams during the 2-day session. All CART Toyota Atlantic Championship cars use the Swift 008.a chassis.

The first race of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship takes place on April 7, at the Grand Prix of Long Beach. Last year's event was dominated by Buddy Rice and the DSTP Motorsports team. DSTP will defend the race title with 21-year old rookie, Joey Hand from Sacramento, California.

The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship is one of the world's premier open-wheel development series and a key rung on CART's "ladder system". It is also noted for its long history of graduating its stars into CART competition. Among the drivers who have graduated from the Atlantic Series are CART Champ Car stars Michael Andretti, Jimmy Vasser, Alex Barron, Memo Gidley, Patrick Carpentier, Alex Tagliani as well as former series champions Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan and Jacques Villeneuve.

-ATLANTIC-

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Series Atlantic
Drivers Jacques Villeneuve , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Memo Gidley , Bobby Rahal , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Grant Ryley , Joey Hand , Danny Sullivan , Buddy Rice