INDIANAPOLIS (July 3, 2002) - Championship Auto Racing Teams announced today that drivers Jon Fogarty of Dorricott Racing and Michael Valiante of Lynx Racing would be participating in the Toyota Atlantic Mentor Program at the Molson Indy...
INDIANAPOLIS (July 3, 2002) - Championship Auto Racing Teams announced today that drivers Jon Fogarty of Dorricott Racing and Michael Valiante of Lynx Racing would be participating in the Toyota Atlantic Mentor Program at the Molson Indy Vancouver, July 26-28. The two Atlantic drivers will spend the entire race weekend with a Champ Car team of their choice and take part in every aspect, including debriefings, engineering sessions and team meetings, plus press and sponsor events, when applicable. They will be in pit lane with headsets during all practice and qualifying sessions as well as the race.
Fogarty earned the trip by being the Atlantic point leader after Chicago. Valiante was chosen as an at-large invitation, selected by a distinguished panel. The selection committee included CART VP of Marketing Steve Fusek, Toyota Atlantic President and CEO Vicki O'Connor, Toyota Atlantic Communications Director Anne Roy, Atlantic television commentator Brian Till and CART Steward Chris Kneifel.
"It's great to receive this award for leading the Toyota Atlantic Championship at the midpoint of the season," commented Fogarty, who won the season opening race at Monterrey, Mexico. "CART is providing a great opportunity and I am very glad to capitalize on it. Gaining insight to the operations of a CART team will no doubt be rewarding in and of itself, but being able to seed a relationship at this point in the 2002 season should help the entry I hope to make into Champ Cars for 2003."
"Being selected for the CART Mentor Program feels like the turbo just kicked in on my career," said Valiante, winner at Long Beach and native of the Vancouver area. "Racing for a team like Lynx in the Atlantic series was a huge step forward for me, and getting to spend time developing a relationship with the powers that be at a Champ Car team makes me even more certain that I'm headed in the right direction to reach the goal I've been working toward since I was three years old. Making the jump from Atlantic to Champ Cars is both logical and difficult, but the Mentor Program opens the door just enough for you to get your foot in, and I'm grateful for the opportunity."
In the next week, Fogarty and Valiante will select their Champ Car team for the Vancouver weekend. They will be able to choose from FedEx Championship Series competitors Newman/Haas Racing, Target Chip Ganassi, Herdez Competition, Walker Racing, Fernandez Racing and Team Rahal.
The Mentor Program is designed to increase the lines of communication between the drivers and teams and expand the future opportunities for the drivers of the CART Ladder System.
The 2002 Mentor Program got underway last week during the CART Grand Prix of Chicago when Barber Dodge Pro Series drivers AJ Allmendinger and Marc Breuers mentored with Toyota Atlantic teams Hylton Motorsports and Lynx Racing. The final Mentor Program will be at Fontana, where both the top Atlantic and Pro Series drivers will spend the weekend with Champ Car teams.