FORSYTHE ANNOUCES FOUR-CAR SUPERTEAM FOR 2006 CHAMP CAR ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP
CHICAGO, Illinois -- January 11, 2006 -- Forsythe Championship Racing, 2003 Vanderbilt Cup winner in the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, is proud to announce a multi-car entry into the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama. "Forsythe Racing has a historic and deep association with Formula Atlantic" said Team Owner Jerry Forsythe. "With the Champ Car Atlantic Championship firmly established as the premier open wheel feeder series in North America and with the new and exciting changes for 2006, I am pleased to announce the formation of Forsythe Championship Racing's Atlantic 'Superteam' featuring four of the most promising young drivers in the world."
Forsythe has signed American Leonardo Maia, Canadian James Hinchcliffe, Frenchman Richard Philippe and German Andreas Wirth to drive the Swift/Cosworth/Yokohama Atlantic combination in the 12-race 2006 Championship. Vice President of Operations Neil Micklewright will oversee the team with John Brunner serving as Team Manager.
Micklewright: "We saw the newly revamped Champ Car Atlantic series as being an incredible opportunity for young drivers. We wanted to become a big part of it and re-establish our driver development program. With $2 million dollars up for grabs for the series champion we decided to jump in with both feet and seek out the cream of the crop for our assault on the championship. With the signing of these four young drivers we've accomplished the first phase of that objective and now we'll get to work winning races. Long Beach is going to be an incredible weekend and it's difficult to contain our excitement."
Forsythe's 2006 Atlantic Drivers:
Leonardo Maia, just 25 years old, will serve as the "elder statesman" of the group. Born in Brazil, he moved to the United States in his youth and is now an American citizen. He was the 2003 Barber Dodge Pro Series Champion, winning six of ten races after securing the Barber CART Scholarship in 2001. "I am very honored and excited to be driving for Forsythe Championship Racing and alongside my new teammates" said Maia from his Florida home. "Team Forsythe has had great success in every series they have taken part in, and I hope I can extend that championship-winning tradition. After missing a year of racing in 2005, I am very anxious to get going!"
James Hinchcliffe is Canadian and recently turned 19. He finished 3rd in the ultra-competitive Star Mazda Series in 2005 after finishing 2nd and taking Rookie of the Year honors in the 2004 Formula BMW USA Championship. "Signing with Forsythe is an amazing opportunity" commented Hinchcliffe. "I don't think that there is a driver in the Atlantic field this year who did not dream about driving with one of the best teams in Champ Car. It's great to be with a team that such a strong and successful history with Canadian drivers. Many of my racing heroes have driven with Forsythe and it feels really good to add my name to that list. This year's Championship is going to be mega. The driver incentive program and new car has lit a fire under this series and attracted a lot of talented drivers from all over the world. I know our team will be well prepared and I can't wait to hit the streets of Long Beach and see what we can do."
Richard Philippe, younger brother of Champ Car driver Nelson Philippe, turned 16 years old this month. He is the youngest driver to ever win a SKUSA 125cc shifter kart event and went on to dominate the 2005 Formula BMW USA Championship. "I am really happy to be part of Forsythe Racing for the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Championship" said Philippe "as I'm sure it will be a very successful year for both of us! I believe the only thing Forsythe Racing wants to do is win, which is the perfect position for me as it is the only thing I want to achieve this year. I'm confident we will have the best package."
Andreas Wirth, 21, is from Germany and was running 2nd in the 2005 Atlantic Championship until missing the final two events due to an injury. He was the 2004 Formula BMW USA champion. "I'm really looking forward to this year's Championship" said Wirth, currently at home in Germany. "It will be very competitive and it's the same for everyone, nobody knows the car already, so it comes back to the driver and the team. It is a great opportunity from Champ Car to put all the prize money out there which makes it really interesting for a lot of drivers all over the world! I know that I'm with one of the best teams out there and I'm confident to be in the fight for the championship. I'm really happy to drive for the Forsythe Atlantic team and want to thank all the people and sponsors who helped me to make this happen. I'm ready to go and can't wait until everything starts now!"
The first event of the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Championship will take place on the historic streets of downtown Long Beach, California on the weekend of April 7-9. All twelve Atlantic events will be broadcast on Speed TV in North America. For more information please visit the official website of the series at www.champcaratlantic.com.