CHAMP CAR ATLANTIC TEAMS AND DRIVERS WITNESS 2006 CAR IN ACTION AS INITIAL TEST SESSION CONCLUDES CHANDLER, Arizona (February 18, 2006) -- Most of the teams and drivers of the Yokohama Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by...
CHAMP CAR ATLANTIC TEAMS AND DRIVERS WITNESS 2006 CAR IN ACTION AS INITIAL TEST SESSION CONCLUDES
CHANDLER, Arizona (February 18, 2006) -- Most of the teams and drivers of the Yokohama Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda got to witness the new 2006 Atlantic car at its official unveiling on February 14, but on Friday all competitors were invited to see the car in action as the first test session with new Swift 016.a/Mazda-Cosworth/Yokohama concluded.
Many of the teams that will compete in the '06 Atlantic Championship were present on the third and final day of testing for the new generation Atlantic machine at Firebird International Raceway near Phoenix. Joining the throng of series manufacturer support personnel and Swift Engineering and Champ Car officials, the teams witnessed another flawless day of on-track performance.
Despite sharing the 1.25-mile Firebird East test track with the Newman/Haas Racing Champ Car team testing Sebastien Bourdais throughout the course of the day on Friday, the new Atlantic logged more than 100 miles again on Friday. With former series champion Jon Fogarty behind the wheel providing all the feedback and getting the most out of the new steed, officials were happy to post nearly 450 test miles on the car over the three-day period with no problems and a solid level of performance and reliability.
"Overall the test was great. The car ran all three days with no real problems," said Fogarty, the 2002 and 2004 series title-winner. "The car's pretty much ready to go racing and once we got to the point of making set-up changes, the car responded the way a race car should."
The team members who were in attendance at the test came away feeling good about the performance of the car and started looking ahead to the March 8 delivery date when Swift will make its delivery of 40 cars to series teams.
"I'm impressed. The car ran pretty flawlessly," said Jim Griffith, co-owner of Polestar Racing Group, entering its fourth season in Atlantics this year. "Whenever they made changes to the car, it seemed to respond and respond well. Since this is the first time we're seeing the car in action, we're kind of looking at the ease of maintenance on the car and when you do make adjustments in the car how easy it is to do. Overall, it's been pretty impressive."
"Visually it's a very impressive car," said Richard Raeder, team manager for Sierra Sierra Enterprises, which is re-entering Atlantics in 2006 after finishing as series runners-up in both 2003 and '04. "I think the car is a big step forward from the (previously-run) 014 model and that will be nice to see for the next few years. I'd like to commend everyone at Swift for pulling this off in such a short time frame. The car's run well straight out of the box."
The next time the '06 Atlantic will be on track with the be the only test session with the new car scheduled for all series teams before the first race of the upcoming season -- the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 7-9. All Atlantic teams are welcome to participate in a two-day open-test on March 21 and 22 at the California Speedway road circuit.
The Champ Car Atlantic Championship continues to be the premier open-wheel development series in North America. Beginning its 33rd season in 2006, the championship is noted for its long history of graduating its stars into Champ Car competition and has helped produce past Champ Car champions Paul Tracy, Jimmy Vasser, Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan, Michael Andretti and Jacques Villeneuve. 2005 Champ Car competitors Alex Tagliani, Andrew Ranger and Ronnie Bremer are also established Atlantic graduates along with 2004 Champ Car Rookie of the Year and 2003 Atlantic champ A.J. Allmendinger. Competing in newly-designed Swift 016.a chassis powered by a 2.3-liter Mazda-Cosworth engine riding on Yokohama ADVAN Racing Slicks, 2006 competitors will fight for the 12-race championship and the unique $2 million Champ Car series champion's bonus. For more information on the Atlantic series, please visit www.champcaratlantic.com.