2008 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda Schedule Features Mix of New Venues and Historic Facilities TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, Canada (April 3, 2008) -- In the five weeks since open-wheel unification was announced, ...
2008 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda
Features Mix of New Venues and Historic Facilities
TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, Canada (April 3, 2008) -- In the five weeks since open-wheel unification was announced, officials from the Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda have been hard at work on several fronts, including shoring up its schedule for the 35th Anniversary season in 2008.
Those efforts bore fruit today as Atlantic Championship Managing Director Vicki O'Connor unveiled an 11-race schedule at a news conference to confirm the return of the series to the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres--one of Canada's most beloved events and a historic venue for Atlantic racing--after a five-year absence. The Atlantic Championship will headline activities in Trois-Rivieres on Sunday, August 17 for the first time since the 2003 season, when A.J. Allmendinger claimed the victory en route to his series championship.
"It seems fitting that, in this 35th Anniversary season, Atlantic will return to an event where it has such a rich history," O'Connor said. "We have vivid memories of the great racing and outstanding fan support we enjoyed over the years at Trois-Rivieres, and we're looking forward to reacquainting ourselves with those fans this summer. It is certainly a popular destination for our teams and drivers, and is a wonderful centerpiece for our 2008 schedule."
Long before Trois-Rivieres, however, the season will get underway with the 34th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 20. The Long Beach weekend will also feature the final Champ Car race--which will pay points toward the 2008 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series championship--as well as the American Le Mans Series. Long Beach also marks the first of three weekends that Atlantic will share with the ALMS this year.
Both Trois-Rivieres and Long Beach appeared on the original 2008 Atlantic schedule that was announced last fall. The second round of the 2008 Atlantic Championship is another that falls into that category as Atlantic will return to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the Monterey Festival of Speed on Sunday, May 18 alongside the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. It will be the first Atlantic race on the Monterey Peninsula since the 2004 season finale, when Jon Fogarty wrapped up his second series championship with a victory after starting from the pole position.
For the second consecutive year, Atlantic will also race at the picturesque Circuit Mont-Tremblant as part of the Sommet des Legends historic racing weekend on Sunday, June 29. The Mont-Tremblant event will be the first of four 2008 events to be held in Canada, and the first of two events to be held in the province of Quebec.
The Atlantic Championship will stay north of the border for its first doubleheader weekend of the season at the Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton on Friday, July 25 and Saturday, July 26. It will also be the lone race weekend in 2008 that Atlantic will share with the IndyCar Series.
The series will then return to the U.S. for its second and final doubleheader weekend of the season at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. on Saturday, August 9 and Sunday, August 10, once again alongside the ALMS. From Elkhart Lake, the Atlantic teams will have a quick turnaround and head back north of the border to Trois-Rivieres one weekend later.
The 10th and 11th events on the 2008 Atlantic schedule will feature a pair of new venues to the series. On Sunday September 14, Atlantic will headline a weekend in which the entire MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder will be on display at the 1.9-mile Lightning Raceway circuit during the inaugural season of racing at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, N.J.. Hosting the penultimate round of the 2008 season will be the 4.5-mile circuit at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, which will be the second and final 2008 Atlantic event alongside the Grand-Am Rolex Series.
The 2008 season will draw to a close on the morning of Saturday, October 4 at Road Atlanta alongside the ALMS Petit Le Mans endurance event. It will be the first Atlantic event at the 2.54-mile permanent road course at Road Atlanta since a race in 1993, which was won from the pole by eventual IndyCar and Formula 1 champion and Indy 500 winner Jacques Villeneuve.
"Putting together a 2008 schedule this spring was one of the most difficult undertakings of my career," O'Connor said. "Due to the fact that we couldn't begin reconstructing our schedule until March, there simply wasn't room for us on many event weekends this year, so we ended up with an 11-race calendar for 2008 instead of the 12-race slate we'd originally planned. That being said, I believe we've come up with a calendar of events that our teams, drivers and fans will enjoy. I am looking forward to returning to several facilities that we haven't visited in years, as well as the venues we will see for the first time this year. We are grateful to all of the promoters for the support they've shown our series, as well as our drivers, teams and sponsor partners for their patience through this process."
The Atlantic Championship is the longest-running open-wheel driver development series in North America and celebrates its 35th Anniversary season in 2008. The series is noted for its long history of graduating its drivers into the top levels of motorsport throughout the world, including IndyCar champions such as Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan, Michael Andretti, Jacques Villeneuve, Jimmy Vasser, Greg Ray, Sam Hornish Jr. and Dan Wheldon, Indy 500 winners such as Sullivan, Rahal, Villeneuve, Buddy Rice, Wheldon and Hornish, and Formula One world champions such as Villeneuve and Keke Rosberg. In 2008, Atlantic graduates will battle for race victories and championships in top North American series such as the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series and the American Le Mans Series in addition to various other series all over the world. Learn more about Atlantic at www.champcaratlantic.com.