Las Vegas: James Hinchcliffe pre-race notes

Hinchcliffe Heads To Vegas For Atlantic Season Opener Toronto, Canada (April 04, 2007) - The streets of Las Vegas play host to the opening round of the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda this weekend,...

Hinchcliffe Heads To Vegas For Atlantic Season Opener

Toronto, Canada (April 04, 2007) - The streets of Las Vegas play host to the opening round of the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda this weekend, 6th - 8th April, with Toronto's James Hinchcliffe returning for a sophomore attack on the title and a shot at the $2,000,000 top prize.

Following a 10th place finish in the '06 Driver Standings, the 20-year-old Canadian hopes his experience behind the wheel of the 300bhp Swift Mazda-Cosworth, which includes a victory in Portland last June, will give him an advantage as he gets set to take the green flag on the 2.4-mile temporary street circuit in Las Vegas on Sunday afternoon.

The 2007 Champ Car Atlantic Championship marks the first time Hinchcliffe returns to a series for a second season following single-year, race-winning campaigns in the Formula BMW USA Championship (2004) and the Star Mazda Championship (2005). While he's familiar with the Atlantic car, James' surroundings have changed following an off-season move from Forsythe Racing to Nevada-based Sierra Sierra Enterprises, where he'll campaign the #9 NOCO-ProWorks entry alongside team-mate and fellow sophomore entrant, Brazil's Raphael Matos in the #6 ProWorks car.

The blossoming relationship between driver and team has already paid dividends in pre-season testing with James laying down the marker as a title-favorite with some stunning lap times, including a clean sweep of all four timed sessions in February's Atlantic test at MSR Houston.

On that form it's no surprise that 'Hinch' is raring to go with Las Vegas the first stop on a 12-race schedule which he hopes will culminate in winning the Champ Car Atlantic Championship and a move up to the Champ Car World Series in 2008.

"I'm excited to be going to Las Vegas," he declared. "The team's been working really hard during the off-season and we've gelled together really quickly so I'm keen to see what we can achieve together. I really believe we have what it takes to win races and go for the championship. We're certainly not going to be shy about our goals for the year, we want to win the first race and hopefully from there, what happens in Vegas won't stay in Vegas, we want that form to carry on throughout the season!"

He continued, "At 20 I feel like the veteran in the series which is crazy but there's such a good crop of rookies in this year's line-up. I at least already know some of the things they're going to go through and experience with the car and some of the tracks so I'm hoping that my experience really pays off as there's no doubting the competition's going to be tough. We're all new to the Vegas circuit and from what I've seen there's some good and bad points to the layout but that's to be expected at the first attempt. We all have to deal with it and I'm looking forward to getting out there and going for it!"

Having kept race-fit over the winter steering the Canadian entry in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, James' 2007 Champ Car Atlantic Championship campaign gets underway on Friday, 6th April, with free practice followed by the first of two qualifying sessions. The second qualifying session will be held on Saturday afternoon with Round 1 taking place on Sunday, 8th April at 4pm PST.

-credit: www.hinchtown.com

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Series Atlantic
Drivers James Hinchcliffe