2005 ATLANTIC CHAMPION CHARLES ZWOLSMAN TO DRIVE FOR TEAM AUSTRALIA AT CHAMP CAR SEASON FINALE IN MEXICO CITY INDIANAPOLIS (October 31, 2005) -- From the moment he strapped into an Atlantic racing car last spring, Charles Zwolsman of the ...
2005 ATLANTIC CHAMPION CHARLES ZWOLSMAN TO DRIVE FOR TEAM AUSTRALIA AT CHAMP CAR SEASON FINALE IN MEXICO CITY
INDIANAPOLIS (October 31, 2005) -- From the moment he strapped into an Atlantic racing car last spring, Charles Zwolsman of the Netherlands proved that he had the ability to do special things in an open-wheel machine without the benefit of much testing or experience. This week, the 26-year-old driver will once again get the chance to make the most of a golden opportunity when he will drive for Team Australia of the Champ Car World Series at the final race of the 2005 season in Mexico City.
Zwolsman earned the right to showcase his skills in a 750-horsepower Champ Car after winning the 2005 Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama series title. As a reward for his impressive performance in capturing the Atlantic crown in his rookie season, Champ Car and Team Australia will provide an entry for Zwolsman at the Gran Premio Telmex/Tecate Presented by Banamex event at Mexico City's Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road circuit, November 4-6.
"I am very happy that Champ Car and the Atlantic series is giving me this great opportunity to race with an experienced team like Team Australia," said Zwolsman. "After winning the Atlantic Championship I have been preparing myself physically for the challenge of driving a 750-horsepower racing machine around the circuit at Mexico City. Making the jump from Atlantics to Champ Cars will be my biggest challenge with three times as much horsepower as what I ran this year. Although my intentions are to finish as high as possible in the race, I also must be realistic and see this as a perfect opportunity to get used to a racing weekend in Champ Car before trying to enter the series full-time next year. This race will give me the chance to show what I can do and hopefully get some people interested for next season."
Zwolsman will put one of the Team Australia Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone Champ Cars through its paces just prior to the race weekend when he spends a full day testing for the team on Thursday, November 3 at the 2.786-mile Mexico City course.
"The Champ Car World Series has made a commitment to reward our Atlantic Series champion with a Champ Car race," said longtime Champ Car team owner Derrick Walker of Team Australia. "Charles has clearly earned the chance and we appreciate the opportunity to give him his first race at the Mexico City event. We really want to do all we can to make sure Charles has a successful debut in his first experience in a Champ Car."
The partnership with Team Australia is a natural fit since the team announced earlier this year that it would expand its operation next season to include an Atlantic program. Team Australia plans to compete with a two-car effort in the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Championship and it announced recently at the Champ Car race in Surfers Paradise, Australia that 19-year-old Aussie driver James Davison will pilot one of the team's Atlantic cars next season. Team Australia plans to announce another driver for Champ Car's top support series in the coming weeks.
Zwolsman emerged as this season's Atlantic champion after recording three wins and a series-high five pole positions and eight podium finishes. He claimed the series point lead at the midpoint of the season, after Round 6 in Cleveland, and outdueled second-year Atlantic driver Tonis Kasemets to secure the title at the season finale in Montreal. After signing on with Condor Motorsports just a couple of weeks before the start of the season, the determined Dutchman began to show his championship form in the season-opening race at Long Beach when he roared from the very back of the field to claim third place with barely one day of Atlantic testing under his belt. The experienced European road racer then began to shine with the Condor team when he claimed victory at Round 2 in Monterrey, Mexico before sweeping a doubleheader race weekend in Cleveland to spur his title-winning season.
The Champ Car Atlantic Championship continues to be the premier open-wheel development series in North America. The championship is noted for its long history of graduating its stars into Champ Car competition and has helped produce past Champ Car champions Paul Tracy, Jimmy Vasser, Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan, Michael Andretti and Jacques Villeneuve. Current Champ Car competitors Alex Tagliani, Andrew Ranger and Ronnie Bremer are also established series graduates along with 2004 Champ Car Rookie of the Year and 2003 Atlantic champ A.J. Allmendinger. For more information on the Atlantic series, please visit www.champcaratlantic.com.