NEW GENERATION CHAMP CAR ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP CAR MAKES ITS DEBUT LOS ANGELES, California (February 14, 2006) -- When the all-new, made-in-the-USA car of the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama makes its long-awaited...
NEW GENERATION CHAMP CAR ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP CAR MAKES ITS DEBUT
LOS ANGELES, California (February 14, 2006) -- When the all-new, made-in-the-USA car of the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama makes its long-awaited debut this evening at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, it represents a culmination of a true labor of love for a number of people.
From the hard-working crew at Swift Engineering that worked so diligently over the last several months to design and construct the new 016.a chassis, to the engine manufacturers at Cosworth that have fine-tuned the four-cylinder, 2.3-liter engine that will produce 300 horsepower on the new Atlantic rockets, to the folks at Yokohama that continue to provide the high-quality ADVAN Racing Tires that equip all series machines and the Champ Car and Atlantic officials that have dedicated their time and effort to make sure the new Atlantic meets all expectations on the racetrack this season. They all join the thousands of fans watching tonight's grand unveiling of the new car around the world through live web casting on both champcaratlantic.com and champcarworldseries.com as the new beauty basks in her Valentine's Day coming out party.
"This evening's unveiling and series announcements mark the rebirth of open-wheel racing," said Kevin Kalkhoven, Champ Car World Series co-owner. "The Champ Car Atlantic Championship will introduce the series' drivers, teams and sponsors to the highest level of competition and clearly shows the considerable excitement that exists for the sport in North America."
"We're so proud of the effort that it took by everyone involved to produce such a beautiful and powerful new Atlantic race car," said Vicki O'Connor, Managing Director of the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama. "We can all take pride in the hard work it took to get to this point. We want to thank everyone at Swift, Cosworth, Yokohama, Champ Car and all the other manufacturers and sponsors for helping to create the new Atlantic. I think we're all excited to witness the debut of the new car and we can't wait to see what it's capable of on the track this season."
For the employees at Swift, located in nearby San Clemente, California, this evening's unveiling holds a special meaning. Working on a very tight time frame to create more than 40 new cars with the promise of delivering them all to Atlantic teams by March 8 so that they can prepare for the upcoming season, Swift workers have been building nearly round-the-clock since the formula for the new era of Atlantic competition was announced at the San Jose Grand Prix last July. Even though they still have some work to do before teams take delivery in a few weeks, Swift has given the majority of its staff the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of their labor tonight with nearly 200 workers in attendance at the Petersen Museum to witness the official launch of the new Atlantic.
"I think it's important to stress the enormity of what has been accomplished," said Chuck Sprague, President at Swift, which has raced in Atlantics since 1987 and has produced 174 victories, more than any other chassis manufacturer in the 32-year history of the championship. "The entire process of design, engineering and manufacturing of the new Atlantic car was compressed into a very tight timeline that required great teamwork, total commitment and unselfish sacrifice from everyone involved. It also required what we like to call 'Swift Thinking,' which is our competitive advantage in everything we do for our racing, automotive, specialty products and aerospace clients. This project was special to everyone at Swift Engineering because the Champ Car Atlantic Championship has been central to the longevity of our company. The Swift 016.a is our fourth Atlantic design and the 183rd Atlantic car we have built and it is a testament to our belief in the Atlantic series and what it represents. As the winningest manufacturer in Atlantic history, we feel a deep bond with everyone in the championship and a debt of gratitude to all."
For Cosworth, the birth of the new Atlantic machine represents a homecoming. The longtime engine designer created the powerplant that was used from the beginning of the Atlantic Championship in 1974 through the 1989 season. Through 16 years of racing in Atlantics, Cosworth engines powered nearly 200 series victories.
"After several months of design, development and endurance testing on the dyno in both the UK and the USA its gratifying to be actually building engines now at our facility in Torrance, California for delivery near the end of this month," said Ian Bisco, Vice President of Cosworth, Inc. "It's always gratifying when working on a new project to see the finished product taking shape. From the day the new series specifications were announced at San Jose we have had a huge amount of interest in the program. Some of that interest was driven by tales of Cosworth engines battling it out in the Atlantic series of the 70s and early 80s and some was driven by the fact that we aim to offer the same reliable, consistent parity that's taken place in the Champ Car World Series engine program. Everyone is treated the same and all have the same chance of winning with more horsepower and torque than has ever been experienced in this series before. We're all looking forward to the season opener at Long Beach and the birth of an exciting new era."
Yokohama returns for its 18th season of Atlantic competition in 2006, serving as the exclusive tire supplier and presenting sponsor of the series. "Yokohama is thrilled to witness the debut of the new Atlantic car and we're proud to be a part of this new era in the championship," said Robert Dole, Product Promotions Manager at Yokohama. "The competition in this series has always proven to be tough and exciting and this season should raise the bar in those areas with the unprecedented number of new teams and drivers fighting for the championship in the new Atlantic formula."
While Tuesday night's festivities will focus on the beauty and the accomplishment of producing the new car, the remainder of this week will be concentrated on competition. The '06 machine will travel from Los Angeles to Phoenix on Wednesday and it will spend the next few days going through its first on-track test. Former Atlantic series champion Jon Fogarty will put the car through its paces with a three-day test session at Firebird Raceway. After teams take delivery of their new cars on March 8, the Atlantic series will host an open test session for all teams at the California Speedway road course, March 21-22. The 2006 Champ Car Atlantic season gets underway April 7-9 at the annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
The Champ Car Atlantic Championship continues to be the premier open-wheel development series in North America. Beginning its 33rd season in 2006, the championship is noted for its long history of graduating its stars into Champ Car competition and has helped produce past Champ Car champions Paul Tracy, Jimmy Vasser, Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan, Michael Andretti and Jacques Villeneuve. 2005 Champ Car competitors Alex Tagliani, Andrew Ranger and Ronnie Bremer are also established Atlantic graduates along with 2004 Champ Car Rookie of the Year and 2003 Atlantic champ A.J. Allmendinger. Competing in newly-designed Swift 016.a chassis powered by a 2.3-liter Cosworth engine riding on Yokohama ADVAN Racing Slicks, 2006 competitors will fight for the 12-race championship and the unique $2 million Champ Car series champion's bonus. For more information on the Atlantic series, please visit www.champcaratlantic.com.