Former Barber-CART Big Scholarship and Rookie of the Year winner Michael Valiante has signed a six-race deal with Lynx Racing to run in the CART Toyota Atlantic Series in 2001. Valiante will contest the Long Beach and Laguna Seca rounds as well...
Former Barber-CART Big Scholarship and Rookie of the Year winner Michael Valiante has signed a six-race deal with Lynx Racing to run in the CART Toyota Atlantic Series in 2001. Valiante will contest the Long Beach and Laguna Seca rounds as well as all of the Canadian events on the schedule which are comprised of the Formula One race in Montreal, the traditional stop at Trois-Riviere in Quebec and the two rounds with the CART FedEx Series in Toronto and his native Vancouver. These six races could be the prelude to a full season in 2002 as Lynx holds on option on Valiante for the following year.
"This is a great opportunity for me and I'm very happy to be associated with a team the caliber of Lynx Racing," says Valiante. "Lynx is a very well established, professional program that will let me focus on my driving and help me take it to the next level. I have a couple of sponsor possibilities that would allow me to run more races, and we're going to follow up on those in the next few days. Aside from that I'm going to put my head down and concentrate on fitting in with the team and preparing for the first race."
“We watched him during the 2000 season and saw how fast he was and how quickly he matured both as a person and a driver,” says Lynx team manager Steve Cameron. “We're happy to have him with the team and would like to thank his sponsors for helping make it possible. The races he will run in 2001 were chosen both for the exposure they offer and the experience they will give him. We have an option on Michael at the end of the season and hope to have him with us full time in 2002."
Valiante ran two seasons with the Barber Dodge Pro Series. The first was as the winner of the “Big Scholarship” in the 1999 season which got off to an auspicious beginning by finishing third in his first start. Valiante would make another podium appearance, a second place, at Road America en route to a tenth-place finish in the overall standings and the Barber Dodge Pro Series Rookie of the Year which he split with Roger Yasukawa.
2000 began with an equally impressive beginning as he took his first career pole at Sebring International Raceway and equaled a career best finish with a second place. The breakthrough finally came at the penultimate round of the series at Road Atlanta. Valiante scored a dominant pole, the second of his career, and went onto to score a flawless maiden victory leading every lap of the race. Valiante finished the year sixth overall with eight Top-10 finishes.
Continued sponsorship from ItalKart, Italian Motors and Diagem, all following him from the Pro Series, as well as new sponsorship from NEWLIFE Development will support Valiante’s efforts. He will also continue to race with his signature number 95.