Toyota Atlantic Series Runner-Up Dalziel Shines in PKV Racing Champ Car Test INDIANAPOLIS (November 17, 2004) -- Scotland's Ryan Dalziel proved that he's one of the top rising talents in open-wheel racing by finishing second in the Toyota ...
Toyota Atlantic Series Runner-Up Dalziel Shines in PKV Racing Champ Car Test
INDIANAPOLIS (November 17, 2004) -- Scotland's Ryan Dalziel proved that he's one of the top rising talents in open-wheel racing by finishing second in the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama over the last two seasons. Dalziel took a major step toward proving that he can bring that success to the next level as he logged nearly 200 miles over the last two days while testing for one of the top teams in the Champ Car World Series -- PKV Racing.
Dalziel, the 22-year-old native of Lanarkshire, Scotland, produced four victories and five pole positions this past season competing for Sierra Sierra Enterprises in the Toyota Atlantic Championship. He battled eventual series champion Jon Fogarty of Pacific Coast Motorsports down to the wire this season, finishing just 18 points behind Fogarty for the title. PKV Racing offered Dalziel the opportunity to test a Champ Car following his strong performance in 2004 and the speedy Scot did not disappoint, posting some very fast times over the last two days while putting the #12 Gulfstream Champ Car through its paces on the 2.3-mile Barber Motorsports Park road course in Birmingham, Alabama.
"We're happy to give Ryan this opportunity, but he truly deserves this test," said PKV Racing co-owner and driver Jimmy Vasser, who is also a graduate of the Toyota Atlantic Championship. "He's done a fantastic job. Ryan knows what he wants and he's a very confident driver. We're still evaluating our (driver) situation for next season but we're very happy with what we've seen."
Dalziel, who owns six career Atlantic victories and finished on the podium 19 times in 36 series starts from 2002-04, was happy to have a veteran and former Champ Car champion in Vasser as a guiding hand at the test session. "I'm pretty pleased with the way I've driven over the last two days and it's certainly good having Jimmy here as a guy who knows these cars inside and out," said Dalziel, who shared track time with 2003 Formula 3000 champion Bjorn Wirdheim, also testing for PKV over the two-day period. "I want to thank Jimmy, (team owner) Kevin Kalkoven and everyone at PKV Racing for this opportunity and hopefully I've proven that I'm ready for the challenge at the next level in Champ Car."
The Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama continues to provide opportunities for the top up-and-coming stars of open-wheel racing. In addition to Dalziel's test with PKV, two-time series champion Jon Fogarty also earned a Champ Car test following his title run this season. Fogarty was scheduled to test with Forsythe Championship Racing at the end of November in Sebring, Florida, but he's had to put those plans on hold after recently shifting his focus to sports car racing beginning next season.
Another top Atlantic competitor will also get a chance to see what he can do behind the wheel of a 750-horsepower Champ Car when Alex Figge of Pacific Coast Motorsports will test with the Forsythe team at Sebring International Raceway at the end of the month.
The Atlantic series is also doing its part to help some of the future stars of racing advance through Champ Car's driver development system. One of the top Atlantic teams, Polestar Racing Group, will give James Hinchcliffe, the 2004 Rookie of the Year for Champ Car's entry level development series, Formula BMW USA, an opportunity to shine in an Atlantic machine at Sebring November 29-30.
Vasser, the 1996 Champ Car Champion who competed in Toyota Atlantic series in the early 90s, sees the value of Champ Car's driver development system and he feels the latest generation of Atlantic graduates has certainly made the most of its opportunities.
"It's clear to me that there's a lot of talent and promise coming out of the Toyota Atlantic Series," said Vasser. "Guys like (2003 series champion) A.J. Allmendinger, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Michael Valiante, who just did a good job in Mexico City, are coming out of Atlantics and driving very fast when they make it into Champ Car. Hopefully, Ryan (Dalziel) will also get that opportunity."