Preparations Well Underway for 2010 Atlantic Championship
BROWNSBURG, Ind. (December 22, 2009) - While there are still a few more days left in 2009, all involved with the Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda are already focused on the 2010 season, which is set to kick off at Sebring International Raceway on Friday, March 19 as part of the festivities for the prestigious 58th Annual Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh From Florida.
The Sebring event leads off a 12-race schedule that was announced last month and includes stops at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Lime Rock Park, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, New Jersey Motorsports Park, Miller Motorsports Park, Autobahn Country Club, the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres and Road Atlanta. The possibility of a 13th event still exists, with a decision expected shortly.
"In my opinion, our 2010 schedule is already one of the best in motorsports," said Atlantic Championship President Ben Johnston. "The venues we have lined up are top notch and will provide plenty of excitement to our drivers, teams, fans and series partners. At the same time, we continue to work on adding one more event to the schedule, and if our negotiations are successful, it will be exciting for all involved."
Of course, the Atlantic Championship couldn't happen without the support of its partners and both Cooper Tires and Mazda remain committed to the series heading into the 2010 campaign. Mazda is entering its fifth season as official sponsor and engine partner, while Cooper Tire heads into its fourth year as official tire and presenting sponsor in 2010.
"Mazda has been racing in open wheel competition for a quarter-century now," noted Robert Davis, Senior Vice President, Product Development and Quality, and the man responsible for Mazda's North American motorsports operations under the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development. "Over the past few years we have established the MAZDASPEED driver ladders in both open wheel and sports car competition allowing young drivers to advance on talent. The Mazda-powered Atlantic Championship is a key element in the open wheel ladder, and we have an excellent working relationship with our partners at Cooper Tires, Swift Engineering, and Cosworth. We are looking forward to growing grid sizes in 2010 as the economy improves,"
"Cooper Tire is looking forward to the 2010 Atlantic Championship Series, starting with the Sebring race in March," stated Chris Pantani, director of Motorsports for Cooper Tire. "We fully plan on activating the 2010 schedule with our Mobile Tour Units and onsite dealer participation."
The Atlantic Championship heads into 2010 with strong support from many long-time teams and some new ones. As of early December, at least 15 teams have expressed an interest in competing in next year's championship and some have already hit the testing trail. All of the teams are preparing for the series-sanctioned test at Sebring International Raceway on the weekend of January 22-24, 2010. Here are comments from some of the teams in the series:
Eric Jensen, Owner, Jensen MotorSport and 2009 Atlantic Team Owner of the Year: "My team is looking very strong for 2010. We've already signed Zach Veach to drive one of our cars and we will certainly have two full-time cars in the series. Based on the number of requests I've been getting, we very well could be a three-car team. The U.S. economy seems to be improving, and we have some good new corporate sponsorships coming online for 2010. That is very promising, since it is much easier to challenge for wins and championships without the stress of working on a tight budget."
Team Stargate Worlds: "We'd like to continue our success from 2009 next season. We've just completed our first official driver test with Adam Christodoulou and it was very successful. We look forward to testing a few more drivers for the upcoming season. We plan on continuing the same branding and are hoping to have another successful year in 2010."
Joel Feinberg, Owner of Primetime Race Group: "We are very excited to see the Atlantic Championship back for 2010 with a great schedule. We are intending to campaign a two-car effort with qualified and funded drivers."
Carlos Bobeda, Owner, Condor Motorsports: "Condor Motorsports is looking forward to the 2010 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda. There are numerous drivers interested in participating in the series and the team is confident that it will be running its three cars in 2010. Our former championship-winning team is planning to start testing drivers next month and seats are available for the official series test at Sebring on January 22-24."
Mirl Swan, Owner, Swan Racing: "Swan Racing is preparing to compete in the 2010 Atlantic Championship with drivers competing for both the overall points championship and the C2 points championship. The Atlantic Championship provides Swan Racing the venue to compete in a fantastic series with some of the best pro racing events in the world. Our drivers are fighting for the overall victory and the C2 class victory. This diversity and history of providing exciting and competitive racing and venues is what makes this series the best for our drivers."
Many more announcements regarding the 2010 Atlantic Championship are expected in the near future.
The Atlantic Championship heads into its 37th year of competition in 2010 and is noted for its long history of graduating its drivers into the top levels of motorsport throughout the world. Graduates include past and present IndyCar drivers such as Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan, Michael Andretti, Jimmy Vasser, Danica Patrick, Dan Wheldon, Graham Rahal, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Raphael Matos, Formula One legends and champions such as Gilles Villeneuve, Jacques Villeneuve and Keke Rosberg, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Sam Hornish Jr. and A.J. Allmendinger and sports car stars like Jon Fogarty, Alex Gurney, Michael Valiante, Luis Diaz, Joey Hand and Simon Pagenaud.
Atlantic Championship graduates have won races and championships at the highest levels of motorsport, including Formula 1, IndyCar and Champ Car, and sports cars. In 2009, Atlantic graduates were top competitors in the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series, the American Le Mans Series, the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series and even the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series among many others. Learn more about Atlantic at www.atlantic-championship.com.