Long Beach: Antoine Bessette preview

Formula Atlantic with Polestar Bessette confident for Long Beach Long Beach, April 5th. -- In only his fourth year in road racing, Antoine Bessette has already reached the upper level of the ladder series, the Toyota Formula Atlantic ...

Formula Atlantic with Polestar
Bessette confident for Long Beach

Long Beach, April 5th. -- In only his fourth year in road racing, Antoine Bessette has already reached the upper level of the ladder series, the Toyota Formula Atlantic championship. The 22-year old driver from Saint-Bruno, Quebec, was quite a revelation for his team when they tested for two days last week in Arizona, getting ready for the 32nd season maiden race in Long Beach, California. In last week testing sessions, Bessette quickly got to speed and earned the second best time among the drivers on location. He will line up with Polestar Racing Group and engineer Jim Griffith who was part of three championship seasons since 1997.

"I'm very comfortable with a Formula Atlantic car, admits Bessette who has driven in the Barber-Dodge series and two seasons in Formula Renault. It's a fantastic racing machine that requires respect, understanding and a careful setup. Up to now, my work with Jim (Griffith) and Bruce (Potter) has been very positive. We will test again this week in Nevada before we head out to Long Beach. I'm very confident for this weekend."

Familiar with street racing

Although this will be a first for Bessette on the streets of Long Beach, the young man has no problem driving an urban track. He declares: "I have raced in Trois-Rivières and Toronto but the Vancouver Indy is the most challenging in Canada. I don't mind getting close to concrete and I like to find the limits of a race track. I plan to meet with Andrew Ranger who drove here last year. Andrew and I competed together in the Fran-Am series two years ago."

Only Canadian in F-Atlantic

Many Canadians met with success in this series but Antoine Bessette will be the only Canadian representative on the 2005 roster. After the Villeneuve, Carpentier, Emprigham and Valiante, the legacy means a lot to the young man: "Any Canadian who gets a chance to drive in this series is on a mission. This is the way I feel entering the first race but I will use this pressure positively when I take to the track Friday morning on the shores of Long Beach."

The ultimate ladder series, the Toyota Formula Atlantic championship presented by Yokohama will enter its 32nd season this weekend on the Streets of Long Beach, an 11-turn 1.968 mile urban track. Antoine Bessette will drive the Polestar Racing Group #3 UNIK Auto Design car. Polestar is owned by Jim Griffith, winner of three championships with Patrick Carpentier (96), Alex Barron (97) and Buddy Rice (2000). Bessette will team up with Brit Katherine Legge. Qualifying session will take place Saturday at 4h15 (ET) and the 32-lap race will go green Sunday at 13h30 (ET).

-www.bessetteracing.com

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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers Patrick Carpentier , Alex Barron , Katherine Legge , Buddy Rice , Antoine Bessette