MJ Motorsports announces expansion plans for 2006 September 28, 2005. Braselton, Georgia. Michael James, Team Principal for Gardena, California-based MJ Motorsports, announced plans today to expand his teams' operations beyond the Star Mazda ...
MJ Motorsports announces expansion plans for 2006
September 28, 2005. Braselton, Georgia. Michael James, Team Principal for Gardena, California-based MJ Motorsports, announced plans today to expand his teams' operations beyond the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear with an additional two-car effort in the Champ Car Atlantic Series, having placed deposits for two of the upcoming Swift Atlantic chassis.
Recently announced by Champ Car, the new Swift 016.a chassis will feature a 300-horsepower, 2.3 liter Cosworth engine, Pi Electronics, and additional regulations aimed at keeping costs reasonable. At the same time the Champ Car Atlantic Series has announced an incentive program that will provide the series champion with a $2 million to be used in assisting that driver into a Champ Car ride.
"One of the my core motivations for creating MJ Motorsports was the desire to create an organization that would be dedicated to developing the future generation of both drivers and crew members," James, a graduate of Santa Clara University explained. "In our first year as a team we have built a core group of individuals to make this vision a reality, with the announcement of the new Swift chassis for the 2006 Atlantic championship we felt this was the perfect time to continue our expansion plans."
"With the new chassis both existing teams and incoming teams will start on equal footing," James explained. "Rather than wait, and allow others a head start in developing the new chassis, we believe we have the team that can develop this new car into a race winner as well."
While understanding that there will be a lot of work involved in the expansion process, James has put together a crew of veterans to help maintain a level of excellence in both programs, with former DSTP team advisor and engineer Kent Stacy leading the Atlantic effort and Danny Gagliano, Team Manager for several Team Bucknum Racing championship winning efforts heading the Star Mazda Championship campaign.
Stacy, himself a championship winning driver, has engineered multiple championship winning cars in the Star Mazda Championship and helped guide one of those champions, Joey Hand, to the Atlantic Series Rookie-of-the-Year title in 2001, a process he looks to repeat with this organization. "With these series as competitive as they are, you need every possible advantage you can get," Stacy explained. "This organization will allow us to groom drivers in the Star Mazda Championship, getting them familiar with how we communicate, and as they develop bring them up to the Atlantic Series where they can continue to grow, without having to adjust to different teams and their ways of working."
To guarantee that the Star Mazda Championship, featuring the 240-horsepower Mazda rotary engine, continues as an effective training tool will be the responsibility of Gagliano, who's experience with Team Bucknum Racing, which competed in both the Star Mazda and American Le Mans Series, gives him an understanding of what it takes to remained focused when a team is competing in two places. "Communication is critical to the success of a team, whether it is between a driver and engineer, or manager and crew member," Gagliano said. "This season Kent, MJ and I have worked together laying the first layer of the MJ Motorsports plan, by creating a team that can communicate clearly and effectively. Now as Kent and MJ work on shaping the Atlantic program I have been given the task of continuing to build the Mazda program."
With the course laid out, James now looks to start putting the pieces together, starting with the acquisition of a Swift 014 Atlantic chassis to begin an aggressive winter testing campaign, focused on laying a solid foundation of communication between team and drivers. "We are in talks with drivers for both seats of our Atlantic effort as well as our four-car Mazda campaign and looking to outline the winter testing program," James said.