NEWMAN/WACHS RACING TO TEST TALENTED YOUNG DRIVERS FOR TWO-CAR ATLANTIC TEAM INDIANAPOLIS (January 23, 2006) -- When legendary actor and longtime Champ Car team owner Paul Newman formed the Newman/Wachs Racing Atlantic team with friend and ...
NEWMAN/WACHS RACING TO TEST TALENTED YOUNG DRIVERS FOR TWO-CAR ATLANTIC TEAM
INDIANAPOLIS (January 23, 2006) -- When legendary actor and longtime Champ Car team owner Paul Newman formed the Newman/Wachs Racing Atlantic team with friend and fellow Can-Am racer Eddie Wachs back in November, their stated goal was to give talented young drivers a golden opportunity to compete and win with a first-class Atlantic team. That chance is waiting for several skilled up-and-coming racers as the Newman/Wachs team will spend three days testing at Moroso Motorsports Park in Jupiter, Florida, February 6-8
"We're basically going to have a shootout for two open seats with the team," said Wachs, the team co-owner who's also raced in Trans-Am, Super Vee and at the SCCA pro level in his career as a driver. "Both Paul and I have felt the same way in our approach this season -- regardless if a driver brings some funding or not, we want to test and find the best drivers. We're looking for drivers who are fast and hungry. We want to give them an opportunity and we want to go out and win this thing."
Working with experienced Atlantic veteran Ove Olsson, who serves as team manager, the Newman/Wachs team has spent the last few months preparing for an assault on the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama. The squad has purchased and prepped a Swift 014.a Atlantic car and will test five series hopefuls in the machine at the upcoming test session. Tonis Kasemets, the 2005 Atlantic series runner-up, will shake down the car before the young guns get a chance to show what they can do on the 2.25-mile Moroso road course.
Two drivers who got a taste of Atlantic competition last season will test for Newman/Wachs in hopes of securing a full-time ride in '06. American Phil Giebler, who made his series debut with a solid eighth-place finish for Condor Motorsports last July at San Jose, will be one of the first drivers to test for Newman/Wachs. Giebler, 25, has had extensive experience competing overseas in the German, British and Spanish F3 series as well as selected F3000 races. The former Infinity Pro Series race winner is also currently competing for Team USA in the A1 Grand Prix Series.
Last season, 17-year-old racer Alan Sciuto became the youngest driver in the 32-year history of Atlantics to win a series pole position when he led both rounds of qualifying at Denver. The native Californian, who was ranked as North America's top shifter kart driver in 2004, showed tremendous potential as he produced two top-five finishes in three series starts in '05, including a podium result of second place in Denver. Considered one of the top rising stars in American open-wheel racing, Sciuto hopes to impress the team with his performance on track next month.
Hoping to follow the path of fellow Frenchman and Newman/Haas Racing Champ Car World Series champion Sebastien Bourdais, Simon Pagenaud will also test for the Newman/Wachs Atlantic squad. After finishing second in the 2004 Formula Renault Eurocup Championship, the 21-year-old Pagenaud continued to impress last season earning three top-five results in the competitive World Series by Renault. The native of Montmorillon, France has already tested Atlantic cars for both the Condor Motorsports and US RaceTronics teams this off-season.
After making five solid starts with the Olsson Engineering Atlantic team in 2004, American Tony Loniewski will get a chance to show what he can do at the test session as well. The 21-year-old from Michigan City, Indiana is a proven winner in the SCCA Formula Atlantic ranks and he finished second in the Toyota Atlantic C2 category in '04.
Brazilian racer Christiano "Tuka" Rocha will also participate in the shootout. The 23-year-old three-time Brazilian karting champion, who has been racing in Europe and is currently competing for Team Brazil in the A1 Grand Prix Series, is eager to showcase his talent in North America and is focusing on the Atlantic series and the Newman/Wachs team for 2006.
After evaluating all of the data and driver feedback from the three-day test, Newman/Wachs Racing officials are hoping to finalize their driver lineup and announce the team's plans at the Official 2006 Atlantic Unveiling to be held on Tuesday, February 14 at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. Newman/Wachs, along with rest of the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic field, will take delivery of their new Swift 016.a/Cosworth/Yokohama cars on March 8.
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, 300-horsepower 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.