MICHAEL TODD DAVID & WATER JOE/AUTODESK RACING TEAM READY FOR SEASON FINALE AT HOUSTON CORONA, Calif. (Sept. 30, 1998) - While this weekend's Texaco Grand Prix of Houston will conclude both the 13-race 1998 KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic Championship and...
MICHAEL TODD DAVID & WATER JOE/AUTODESK RACING TEAM READY FOR SEASON FINALE AT HOUSTON
CORONA, Calif. (Sept. 30, 1998) - While this weekend's Texaco Grand Prix of Houston will conclude both the 13-race 1998 KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic Championship and Atlantic competition for Michael Todd David, it will also preface a new era for the PDR Enterprises-Water Joe/Autodesk Racing team. A busy race agenda for PDR will share an equally ambitious schedule of on-going preparation for 1999 and the introduction of a re-organized PDR-Water Joe/Autodesk Racing team to the Atlantic championship.
This year's Atlantic closer on Sunday, Oct. 4, will set the stage for the inaugural CART FedEx Championship Series Texaco Grand Prix of Houston later that day. An anticipated field of over 30 cars will take a "standing start" at 12:30 p.m. (CT) to race through Houston's newly constructed 1.68-mile, 10-turn temporary street circuit.
David comes to Houston on the heels of a tough 12th round at Laguna Seca where he finished 19th after qualifying 22nd in the PDR Enterprises-prepared Ralt RT-41. Laguna Seca hinted a top-15 finish when David improved to 14th place by lap 17 of the 28-lap race. However, contact with Andrea Delorenzi on lap 25 essentially eliminated David from top-15 contention when a variety of blocking moves employed by Delorenzi resulted in his left rear wing cutting deeply into David's right front tire. David returned to pit lane where an efficiently executed tire change by the PDR team allowed for a quick race resumption.
Houston, in addition to being an important race for David who is currently 15th in the driver standings with 37 points, is also a key stop for PDR in terms of laying more foundation for next year. PDR Enterprises co-owner Mike David announced plans on Sept. 16 to re-organize and expand PDR's racing operation to a two-car campaign. The announcement included his notice that he would be stepping aside as team manager following Houston to focus more attention on development and testing of PDR's Swift 008a chassis for the 1999 season
Filling David's shoes as team manager will be Jean Marchioni, a 20 year veteran of open-wheel racing and former technical advisor to the Elf-Winfield F3 team. Marchioni, who is originally from Nice, France, first met David several years ago when David was the technical director for Pro-American Shifter Sports. As PDR's new team manager, Marchioni has been interviewing numerous drivers for an upcoming Atlantic test scheduled for early November.
"To be successful in any business you have to surround yourself with good people," said David. "PDR has some of the best technical resources available to concentrate on a winning combination for next year. I am very pleased with the level of talent we have spoken with so far."
ESPN2 will telecast round 13 of the 1998 KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic Championship from Houston on Saturday, Oct. 10, from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET (1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. PT).