SAN DIEGO (March 17, 2003) - CART Toyota Atlantic Championship team owner Allen Berg announced today that European driver Romain Dumas will race under the Scuadra Fortia banner at CART's Toyota Atlantic season opener on March 23, 2003 in Monterrey, Mexico. Dumas, from Ales, France, will join teammate Eduardo Figueroa of Mexico City at Fundidora Park. This will be Dumas's first Atlantic competition.
The versatile 26 year old Dumas has raced and done well in many different types of cars. In the 2002 European F3000 series he won three of ten events and finished second in the Drivers' Championship. He also recently tested the Renault F1 Team, impressing the team by running within half a second of F1 veteran and Renault driver Fernando Alonso.
"This will be the first time for me to drive an Atlantic car," said Dumas. "We did not have time to test or shake it down before the first practice in Mexico. This is a new team to me; it is important to get good results for Scuadra Fortia. To stay in shape for the 2003 season, I tested in Europe over the winter and also drove a prototype this last weekend at Sebring. This week there will be many first time experiences for me: first trip to Mexico, a new track, a new series and a new team. I am looking forward to it all. I've been watching the CART Atlantic series and have wanted to race there."
Berg understands what it takes behind the wheel; he is a versatile driver who has competed in Formula One, Atlantics, Indy Lights and Prototypes since 1977. He formed Scuadra Fortia in 2001. Team headquarters is in San Diego, California near the Mexican border. All commercial, promotional, marketing and public relations efforts are split between the San Diego facility and satellite offices in Mexico City and Guadalajara, Mexico. In 2001, Berg won the Drivers' and Team Championships in the Indy Lights Pan-American Series with four wins and seven podium finishes in nine races, acting as both driver and team director. Additionally, Argentina driver Waldemar Coronas, driving for Scuadra Fortia in 2001 won one race in three starts. The team ran a two car effort in CART Toyota Atlantics in 2002 and had two top-five finishes and six top-ten finishes with drivers Figueroa and Coronas. Berg won the 1993 Mexican F2 Championship. He is a two time Canadian racing champion, the 1982 Canadian Rookie of the Year, 1983 New Zealand Tazman Series Formula Atlantic Champion and was also twice named the Canadian Driver of the Year.
There are several "driver development" series in North America, but the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship remains unparalleled in its rich 30-year history of providing one of the most recognized stepping stones to a career in international motorsports competition. The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship is the final rung in the "Champ Car Ladder System," designed to develop the continent's best young open wheel racing talent. New and returning teams, drivers and tracks will highlight what is shaping up to be one of the series' most promising seasons Series information www.toyotaatlantic.com.