SAN CLEMENTE, Calif - Swift Engineering Inc. recently delivered its 50th Swift 008.a chassis to a Toyota Atlantic team on the eve of its third season as exclusive chassis supplier to the series. The milestone was hailed by Vicki O'Connor, chief...
SAN CLEMENTE, Calif - Swift Engineering Inc. recently delivered its 50th Swift 008.a chassis to a Toyota Atlantic team on the eve of its third season as exclusive chassis supplier to the series.
The milestone was hailed by Vicki O'Connor, chief executive of the agency that supervises the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship racing effort,
"When the Atlantic series decided to run a single chassis as a means to equalize competition across the board, we turned to Swift Engineering," O'Connor said. "Now as we enter the 2000 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship season solely utilizing the Swift 008.a chassis, it seems fitting and timely that Swift has reached such a milestone in cars delivered. We enjoy working with Swift Engineering and congratulate them on the delivery of their 50th chassis,"
The newest Swift racing chassis went to Hylton Motorsports in Brentwood, Calif. Until another driver is signed, it will serve as a backup car for 17-year-old Kuno II Wittmer of Montreal, who would become the circuit's youngest driver.
Although performance development of the Swift 008.a is strictly controlled by rules of the series, Swift Engineering continues to work to improve the running life and quality of the components. Swift Toyota Atlantic car and all the spare parts are produced by an experienced staff under the supervision of Steve Sandstom, Rick Bilisoly, Chris Bernal and directed by Bob Montgomery, the Toyota Atlantic program manager.
Introduction of a "controlled" chassis that is mandatory for all competitors has effectively leveled the playing field, producing much closer competition between the drivers and teams, enhancing overall entertainment value of the series, Montgomery said.
In its transition year, 1998, most competitors switched to Swift partway through the season, including the champion, Lee Bentham of New Market, Ont. The 1999 champion, Anthony Lazzaro of Acworth, Ga., named to the 1999 Auto Racing All American team by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association, has moved on to the NASCAR Busch Grand National series. Another CART Toyota Atlantic alumnus, Alexandre Tagliani, joined an old Toyota Atlantic rival, Patrick Carpentier, as a new member of the Player's Forsythe Racing team in the CART FedEx Championship.
Since Bentham won the fifth race of the 1998 season Swift drivers have won 21 straight races, although other chassis were permitted to continue running. The nine wins in 1998 were scored by five different drivers, while seven different driven won the 12 races in 1999. This season Swift will be the only chassis permitted to be race.
The Swift car is an inch short of 14 feet long, has a 104-inch wheelbase and must weigh no less than 1,265 pounds, including the driver. Powered by its 1.6-liter Toyota 4AGE engine, it propels the drivers at top speeds in excess of 160 mph around both road courses and ovals where CART events are scheduled.