HINCHCLIFFE IMPRESSES IN FIRST THREE ATLANTIC EVENTS
"Two top fives and several turned heads"
Oakville, Ontario -- May 24, 2005. -- Canadian Forsythe Championship Racing (FCR) pilot James (Hinch) Hinchcliffe (Emexis Integrated Solutions, Indeck, #3), has made the move to the ultra competitive Champ Car Atlantic Series presented by Yokohama. With a series purse in excess of $2 million, the series is seeing an explosive group of talented drivers fighting for every race win.
For Hinch, the season started on a high note in Long Beach, California. The talented driver took his time getting up to speed as he continued to learn the track and his new Atlantic ride. Practice and qualifying went very well for the young Canadian as qualified the car in P5. Hinchcliffe would move forward in the race after sustaining constant pressure on his fellow competitors. One position would come after another driver's retirement and another was gained on an excellent pass entering turn one off a restart. As the checkers flew, Hinchcliffe found himself on the podium joining race winner and his teammate as Forsythe would claim the first and third positions
Forsythe Championship Racing and Hinchcliffe then moved onto the Grand Prix of Houston. With a terribly bumpy racing surface and temperatures reaching 100 degrees, Hinchcliffe was on pace early qualifying the car in the fourth position. Knowing that he needed more, the team went to work to prepare for Saturdays qualifying session. Tragedy struck Saturday afternoon as the Oakville, Ontario resident did not turn a lap in the second session of qualifying due to a gearbox problem but fortunately, only dropped one position in the final qualifying order.
Saturday evening would be a busy one for the FCR team as they and eleven other competitors found engine problems related to the bumpy surface. The team was forced to change to a back up motor and would not be able to test it before race day.
At the start of the event, Hinchcliffe fell back to the sixth position but was relegated up the running order after a couple of cautions due to incidents. As the race began to wind down, the #3 FCR ride made a move for P3 and looked to have completed a clean move on the entry to corner one. The car being passed cut through the chicane and back onto the racing surface in front of Hinchcliffe and claimed the final podium position.
"My team and I deserve to have that podium," explained Hinchcliffe. "They worked so hard the past couple of days replacing worn out parts due to the track conditions here in Houston. I am disappointed with the officials ruling on my position but am happy to gain another top-five result."
After the event, Hinchcliffe and his team found out that the motor they put in his car was lacking straight line speed making his fourth place result that much more impressive.
Hinchcliffe would have little time off as the next event was the following weekend in Monterrey Mexico where the engine gremlins continued to hound the team. The team determined and fixed the problem during the practice sessions but they and Hinchcliffe were unable to work on the cars setup. During qualifying, Hinchcliffe claimed the 19th starting position and raced to an uninspiring 16th place finish. This was by far Forsythe Championship Racing's toughest weekend as the team drivers lacked racing grip and were further down the running order then expected.
With two strong results in the opening two rounds, Hinchcliffe sits fourth in the overall Champ Car Atlantic Series point standings, which he claims, is not too disappointing. Looking forward, Forsythe and Hinchcliffe will begin preparation for the next round of the Champ Car Atlantic Championship presented by Yokohama at Portland International Raceway.