Skerlong Samples Atlantic Competition at Sebring Mukilteo, Washington (January 29, 2007) -- Carl Skerlong, driver of the ...
Skerlong Samples Atlantic Competition at Sebring
Mukilteo, Washington (January 29, 2007) -- Carl Skerlong, driver of the #24 King Taco / US RaceTronics Swift Mazda-Cosworth, had his first taste of the competition ahead of him in the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda as Sebring International Raceway hosted the year's first official pre-season test on Saturday and Sunday, 27th-28th January.
Utilizing the Florida circuit's 1.669-mile short road course, Skerlong experienced a host of track conditions in his 300bhp, 2.3-liter Mazda-Cosworth powered open-wheel race car, thanks to variable weather throughout the two day test. The one thing the weather failed to effect was the competitiveness of the 24-strong Champ Car Atlantic field with the top-20 runners on both days split by less than a second.
Preparing for his rookie season, Skerlong, the reigning Formula TR Pro Series 2000 Champion, posted a best lap of 59.228s / 101.445mph to conclude Saturday's running, just seven tenths of a second shy of Raphael Matos' leading time in the Sierra Sierra Enterprises entry, the Brazilian sophomore racer topping the timesheets with a 58.587s / 102.555mph effort.
With Sunday presenting monsoon-like conditions in the morning followed by more-familiar Florida sunshine in the afternoon, lap times across the board were slower but in the damp-to-dry conditions Carl's times were top-three, the 18-year-old Washington-native having recently honed his wet weather skills competing in the Formula Renault UK Winter Series in England last November.
As the first official pre-season test wrapped Carl ended the day with a best lap of 59.343s / 101.249mph with Sunday's fastest lap, 58.709s / 102.342mph going to fellow American J.R. Hildebrand in the Newman-Wachs Racing entry.
"This is going to be a super competitive championship this season," reflected Skerlong. "We spent the test working on a lot of different things with both the car and my driving style but you could see by how close the lap times were the level of competition in Atlantic's. It's good to spend more time with the team and we worked on our communication process as we develop our relationship ahead of the start of the season. We accomplished a lot more than the lap times reflect and we definitely have a good starting point in terms of our car's set-up prior to the next official test."
Pre-season testing continues when the second of three officially sanctioned tests takes place at the MSR Houston road course in Angleton, Texas, 9th-10th February. The 12-round 2007 Champ Car Atlantic Championship kicks off with the inaugural 'Vegas Grand Prix Fueled by Visa', 6th-8th April on the streets of Las Vegas, Nevada.