Portland: Josh Hunt preview

Gold Coast driver Josh Hunt is all pumped up for this weekend's fourth and fifth rounds of the Toyota Atlantic Championship where he will drive the Wright Patton Shakespeare supported entry at the Portland International Raceway in Oregon,...

Gold Coast driver Josh Hunt is all pumped up for this weekend's fourth and fifth rounds of the Toyota Atlantic Championship where he will drive the Wright Patton Shakespeare supported entry at the Portland International Raceway in Oregon, USA

The fast flowing 1.969 mile (3.1688km) Portland layout is the first track in the Championship that Hunt has tested at prior to a race weekend filling the 19-year-old full of confidence leading into the pair of Championship rounds this weekend.

"Portland is the only track I have spent anything more than two practice sessions on prior to qualifying, it is also one that I enjoyed when we tested there," said Hunt.

"While I enjoyed racing on an oval for the first time in the last round at Milwaukee I can't wait to be on a road circuit this weekend. Circuit racing is what I have done my entire career and I feel right at home."

Having already impressed many onlookers throughout the opening three rounds of the Championship in his Wright Patton Shakespeare car with three top 10 finishes this weekend Hunt is aiming to record his best result so far in the Championship.

"Every time I get into the car I am continually improving my speed, feedback to my engineers and car control," said Hunt.

"Portland is a very technical track where you have to always be on top of your game and not push too hard, you can lose a lot of time if you are push the car too hard. It is a case of going fast slowly.

"I am really enjoying driving a Toyota Atlantic and have taken a real likening to the aerodynamics and how they affect the handling of the car.

"The aero package is of utmost importance with several high speed corners that can either really affect your lap times. Our Lynx Racing cars are very strong in this area."

All Toyota Atlantic cars are manufactured by Swift Engineering with the carbon fibre/epoxy and aluminium honeycomb composite monocoque chassis is similar to that found on Formula One and Indy style cars and represents the state-of-the-art in small formula racing car design. All cars in the Championship are powered by a 1600cc Toyota engine 240 horsepower producing speeds in excess of 160 mph (260 kmh) while using a 15-inch diameter lightweight aluminium wheels mounted with Yokohama tyres.

Run in conjunction with the opening round of the Champ Car World Series, this is the 31st year of competition for the Toyota Atlantic Championship and is regarded as the premier training ground for the future stars of the sport.

Hunt is the first Australian to compete in the Toyota Atlantic Series since fellow Queenslander David Besnard in 1999 and has received major support from Wright Patton Shakespeare Financial Group, which is owned by Gold Coast businessman Craig Gore and Champ Car World Series Co-Owner and Aussie Kevin Kalkhoven.

A successful year in the Toyota Atlantic Championship will see Hunt make his Champ Car debut in the Lexmark Indy 300 on the streets of the Gold Coast on October 21-24.

The Toyota Atlantic race at the Portland is the fourth of 12 rounds in the Championship. All 12 scheduled races this year will be run in conjunction with Champ Car World Series events on tracks that include road courses and ovals, as well as street and airport circuits with eight rounds in America, one in Mexico and three in Canada.

Practice for round four and five of the Toyota Atlantic Championship around the 1.969mile (3.1688 km) Portland circuit begins this Friday June 18 at 12:00pm. Separate qualifying sessions will be held for each of the rounds on Friday at 1:15pm and 8:00am Saturday. Both races are 35-laps (or maximum 50 minutes) in duration at 12:15pm on Saturday June 19 and 10:30am Sunday June 20.

The time in Portland, Oregon is 17 hours behind Australian EST.

-jhr-

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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers David Besnard , Josh Hunt , Kevin Kalkhoven