Canadian hotshoes ready for Montreal

A new pair of Canadian hotshoes "You can ask me for anything you like, except time." -- Napoleon Fast Facts -- Lynx Racing fields an all-star, all-Canadian team of Michael Valiante and L.P. Dumoulin in Saturday's Toyota Atlantic race at the...

A new pair of Canadian hotshoes

"You can ask me for anything you like, except time." -- Napoleon

Fast Facts --

Lynx Racing fields an all-star, all-Canadian team of Michael Valiante and L.P. Dumoulin in Saturday's Toyota Atlantic race at the Molson Indy Montreal

Lynx Racing will field an all-star, all-Canadian team of Michael Valiante, 23, of Vancouver, B.C. and Louis-Philippe Dumoulin, 24, of Trois-Rivières, Quebec in the CART Toyota Atlantic support race at the Molson Indy Montreal. This will be the second pairing of the duo; they also raced together as teammates in the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières on August 3, finishing 3rd and 9th.

Valiante has won two races so far this season (Mexico and Mid-Ohio), and is 4th in the battle for the 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic championship. Dumoulin, the 2002 Canadian Formula Ford 1600 champion, will be making just his second-ever start in an Atlantic race at Montreal; he qualified on the pole and finished 2nd in the FF1600 event here in 2002.

Lynx Racing, a championship-winning combination of racing team and driver development program, is owned by two women, Peggy Haas and Jackie Doty. Lynx provides future champions with a 'scholarship' worth $2.5 million U.S. over two years. Graduates of the Lynx program include Patrick Carpentier (Player's/Forsythe), Alex Barron (Mo Nunn Racing), Buddy Rice (Red Bull Cheever Racing) and Memo Gidley.

Canada already has a fast-driving 'dynamic duo' in the Player's/Forsythe team of Patrick Carpentier and Paul Tracy, but there's a new pair of Canadian hotshoes on the horizon, and they'll be driving for Lynx Racing in Saturday's Toyota Atlantic race at the Molson Indy Montreal. Michael Valiante, 23, of Vancouver, B.C. and Louis-Philippe Dumoulin, 24, of Trois-Rivières, Quebec, will team up for the second time this season in open-wheel auto racing's version of triple-A baseball. Valiante has won twice this year, including the most recent Atlantic race, at Mid-Ohio, and has already signed a deal to drive for Champ Cars for Walker Racing next season. Dumoulin is the 2002 Canadian Formula Ford 1600 champion, who started from the pole and finished second in last year's Montreal FF race. Their previous pairing, at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières on August 3, saw them finish 3rd and 9th. Dumoulin is in 'learning mode' with the Lynx team and hopes to put together a sponsorship program that allows him to race for the team full-time next year.

"Everyone in Quebec knows Lynx Racing because of the success they had with Patrick Carpentier, and for that reason I have always had my eyes on driving for them," says Dumoulin. "I always want to be with the best team, and AIM was the best in Canadian Formula Ford, and Lynx is the best in Toyota Atlantic, so this is a dream come true for me. I especially want to thank my family and sponsors and fans for helping me take the next big step in my career. Getting in an Atlantic car for the first time made me realize that I have a lot to learn about racing with wings and slicks and data systems, but my education with Lynx is already in high gear. Michael and the team were very helpful and we all worked together very well. I plan to learn as much as possible during these two races and work toward a full-time Atlantic program in 2004." Like Valiante, Dumoulin has been in racing most of his life - even before, in fact, as auto racing is a three-generation affair in his family-- and his brother, Jean-Francois, is the 2002 Grand Am Cup champion. 'L.P.' as his friends call him, started ice-racing at age 12 near his Trois Rivières home. He attended the Jim Russell Racing School at Mont-Tremblant in 1994, and enrolled in the mechanic/driver program at the school in 1995, winning all three races in which he competed. He was ranked 4th in the Quebec regional Formula Ford 1600 championship, even though he ran only half the races. He climbed the Canadian Formula Ford ladder, finishing 5th in the 2001 championship with three podium finishes and four top-10 finishes.

2002 was his breakthrough year when, driving for AIM Motorsport, he started from the pole five times and won six races (including both events at his home track in Trois Rivières). When not at the track, L.P. studies marketing and business administration at the University of Quebec in Trois Rivières. He races karts regularly to keep his driving reflexes sharp, and follows an intense physical fitness program that includes weight lifting. He played football and rugby while in high school, and does 'Ride and Drive' product presentation programs for a variety of major auto and tire manufacturers.

Valiante started racing even earlier, at age 7. He won multiple national and international karting championships before attending both the Skip Barber and Bridgestone racing schools in 1997. In 1998, he won both karting and racing championships, and a scholarship in the Skip Barber Racing Series where he was both Rookie of the Year and series champion. That led to a full-season ride in the Barber Dodge Pro Series where he scored seven top-10 and four top-5 finishes and was co-Rookie of the Year.

He did four races with Lynx in 2000 as teammate to fellow Vancouver native - and two-time Montreal Atlantic winner - David Rutledge, and became the full-time Lynx driver in 2001. His other interests include hockey, rollerblading and kart racing. The Valiante family businesses include famed racing kart manufacturer ItalKart and Mir racewear. "It's very important for a Canadian driver to have a win in Montreal on his resume, and that's what I'm going for this weekend," says Valiante, who qualified 2nd for this race last year but had to pit to change a flat tire and ultimately finished 7th. "Fortunately, I'm driving for a team that is more than capable of winning at any track on any given weekend. But no matter what happens in the race, over the last two years Lynx has provided me with both an incomparable education and the opportunity to develop and display the talents that convinced Derrick Walker to offer me a ride in Champ Cars next year. So I'm not really feeling any pressure, this weekend, I'm just-- hungry."

The duo are prime candidates to win Saturday's Atlantic race, and Lynx knows a good deal about winning at Montreal; the team has put Canadian drivers on the pole and atop the victory podium three times (Patrick Carpentier in 1996, and David Rutledge in 2000 and 2001). In addition, Lynx drivers have scored four podium finishes in the Montreal Atlantic race: Jeret Schroeder in 1996; Buddy Rice in 1998 and 1999; and Michael Valiante in 2001.

What makes the team interesting, aside from its success, is the fact that although auto racing is still pretty much a man's sport, Lynx Racing is owned by two women - Peggy Haas and Jackie Doty. It's a championship-winning organization that focuses on a driver's mental, emotional and spiritual development along with their on-track skills. Now in its 13th year, Lynx Racing is a hugely successful combination of racing team and driver development program with a mission to seek out young drivers who have the potential to become champions at the top levels of the sport. Once a driver is identified, the team provides a 'scholarship' worth $2.5 million that includes two years of racing in the Atlantic series with the Lynx team, as well as a comprehensive education in the arts and sciences of auto racing - everything from on-track racing strategy and working with sponsors and media to meditation and visualization techniques designed to clear the mind of doubts and hesitation. It's a completely unique process the team calls "Destiny by Design."

On-track Atlantic action at the Molson Indy Montreal begins with a half-hour practice session from 8:45 am to 9:15 am Friday, August 22. Preliminary qualifying to determine one of the two front-row starters will take place at 1:30 pm Friday afternoon. Final qualifying to set the starting grid takes place during a 1-hour session beginning at 8:45 am Saturday, August 23. The one-hour CART Toyota Atlantic race is scheduled to take the green flag at 3:15 pm Saturday afternoon, and the race will be broadcast on Speed TV at 4:00 pm Eastern time.

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Series Atlantic
Drivers Memo Gidley , Jeret Schroeder , Patrick Carpentier , Paul Tracy , Michael Valiante , David Rutledge , Alex Barron , Buddy Rice , Skip Barber , Louis-Philippe Dumoulin , Mo Nunn