TEAM AUSTRALIA ORDERS TWO ATLANTIC CARS Team Australia has announced it will campaign two cars in next year's new-look Champ Car Atlantic Series as part of its growing development program. The announcement was made by Team Australia co-owners...
TEAM AUSTRALIA ORDERS TWO ATLANTIC CARS
Team Australia has announced it will campaign two cars in next year's new-look Champ Car Atlantic Series as part of its growing development program.
The announcement was made by Team Australia co-owners Craig Gore and Derrick Walker at the series' announcement of a new Cosworth-engine/Swift-chassis package for the 2006 championship at the San Jose Grand Prix in California today.
Team Australia has already signed its two drivers for the 2006 Atlantic season and they will be announced in the coming weeks.
It was also announced at the launch of the new-look series that the winner of the 2006 title will be awarded a bonus $US2 million to help pay for a ride in the Champ Car World Series in 2007.
Team Australia was applauded by Champ Car Series co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven for being the first Champ Car team to commit to the new-look series.
"The fact that we have put up our hand for the first two cars for the new-look series is testimony to our commitment to the Team Australia program and to Champ Car," said Gore.
"The Atlantic series has been a long-time feeder series to Champ Car and there is no doubt that the new chassis and engine package and the announcement of the $US2 million winner's bonus provides plenty of incentive for young talent to become involved.
"We see Atlantics as the important "middle" step for any young driver wanting to make it to the top in this sport. Therefore the series is an important part of the Team Australia commitment to developing young talent."
The commitment to the Atlantic Series is the next piece in the puzzle of the Team Australia program which will incorporate six different categories, racing in eight different countries on four different continents next year.
The total program will be exposed to a live audience of 10 million fans, a TV viewing audience of more than 1.4 billion and produce a minimum of between five and six hours of branded viewing.
The full program, including cars and drivers, is expected to take a total investment of almost $US20 million and will be officially launched in September.
"In the past we have seen Champ Car champions learning their craft in the Atlantic Series. I think the announcements made today will only help enhance that in the future," said Walker.
"We have made no secret of the fact that Team Australia is focused on developing young drivers and that we want young professionals coming out of Atlantics and straight into our Champ Car program.
"The team will be run out of our Indianapolis shop and we intend to be a serious championship contender."
Kalkhoven, who has played the premier role in re-building the Champ Car series, is a big supporter of the Team Australia program.
"I think Craig and Derrick and the guys at Team Australia should be applauded for their vision and their commitment to developing young drivers," said Kalkhoven.
"Their commitment to Champ Car and the Atlantic series is fantastic."
The Atlantic Series is in its 32nd season and has helped produce former Champ Car champions such as Paul Tracy, Jimmy Vasser, Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan, Michael Andretti and Jacques Villeneuve.
Team Australia's current Champ Car star Alex Tagliani also is a graduate of the Atlantics Series.