Houston test schedule in May

CHAMP CAR ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP TO HOST TWO-DAY OPEN TEST IN MAY, LEADING INTO ROUND 2 IN HOUSTON INDIANAPOLIS (April 13, 2006) -- Following a stirring debut of the 2006 Yokohama Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda...

CHAMP CAR ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP TO HOST TWO-DAY OPEN TEST IN MAY, LEADING INTO ROUND 2 IN HOUSTON

INDIANAPOLIS (April 13, 2006) -- Following a stirring debut of the 2006 Yokohama Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda last weekend at the annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, fans and competitors alike are looking forward to the next time the new-look Atlantic cars attack the race track.

While the schedule calls for a one-month break between the opening round of competition in the Champ Car Atlantic Championship and Round 2 -- the Fast Trac 100 at the new Grand Prix of Houston street circuit, May 11-13 -- the new Atlantic machines will return to action with a series-sanctioned test session one week prior to the Houston event.

All Atlantic competitors are invited to participate in a two-day open test, scheduled for Sunday and Monday, May 7 and 8, at the MSR Houston Mercedes-Benz of Sugar Land road course, located just south of Houston, Texas. With only two March testing dates for the new Mazda-Cosworth/Swift 016.a/Yokohama Atlantic car prior to last week's season-opening race weekend on the streets of Long Beach, series competitors are anxious to test the limits of their new machines at the pristine 17-turn, 2.4-mile MSR Houston circuit. The test, which will not be open to the public, will give Atlantic teams and drivers an opportunity to learn more about their cars and various set ups heading into the second event on the '06 schedule, a much-anticipated new street venue for the series constructed around Houston's Reliant Park.

"This test will allow us to explore the ends of the spectrum with the new car," said Jim Griffith, co-owner of the Polestar Racing Group Atlantic team, which will have two entries among the expected 30-car field at the test. "We were off the pace a little bit at Long Beach so this will hopefully help us find the car and we'll spend some time trying learn more about the shocks and the aero package on the new car."

Competing in front of a packed house of California race fans last weekend, second-year Atlantic driver Andreas Wirth (#37 INDECK/Wirth Solar) and the Forsythe Championship Racing team set the early pace in the series title chase. Wirth claimed his second career Atlantic win, beating Raphael Matos (#6 Pro Works) of Sierra Sierra Enterprises to the finish line by .840 of a second in a very competitive race throughout the 28-car field at Long Beach. Wirth's Forsythe Racing teammate James Hinchcliffe (#3 Emexis/INDECK) was third.

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Series Atlantic
Drivers Andreas Wirth