HIGHLAND PARK, Ill., January 21, 2000 - Two new, talented drivers have joined the field for the upcoming CART Toyota Atlantic Championship season with the addition of Dan Wheldon and Martin Basso.
Wheldon, the reigning U.S. F2000 champion, signed on with Atlantic champion PPI Motorsports, joining Atlantic veteran Andrew Bordin on the two-car team. Basso signed on with Michael Shank Racing - which finished second in the title-chase in 1999 - after stellar seasons last year in the 1999 South America Formula 3 Championship and the 1999 Formula Super Renault Championship.
"We feel very lucky to have a driver of Martin's caliber with us," Shank said of the 25-year-old driver from Rafael, Santa Fe, Argentina. "In testing he showed excellent speed and a very smooth style of driving. That, combined with his years of experience in Formula 3-type cars, should make him one of the top challengers for the Atlantic championship."
Wheldon, of Buckinghamshire, England, earned a test ride last November in the PPI Atlantic car fielded by 1999 Atlantic Champion Anthony Lazzaro, part of his award for winning the U.S. F2000 championship last year. His performance in the Atlantic series-sponsored test opened the eyes of the PPI team, which signed him last week.
* * In other series news, drivers from five Atlantic teams started serious preparation for the March 25 season opener at Miami-Homestead Speedway with a two-day test session on Jan. 15-16 at the south Florida race course.