CHAMP CAR ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP CAR PROVES RELIABLE IN SECOND DAY OF TESTING CHANDLER, Arizona (February 16, 2006) -- While Tuesday night's unveiling of the new Champ Car Atlantic Championship car and Wednesday's on-track debut of the ...
CHAMP CAR ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP CAR PROVES RELIABLE IN SECOND DAY OF TESTING
CHANDLER, Arizona (February 16, 2006) -- While Tuesday night's unveiling of the new Champ Car Atlantic Championship car and Wednesday's on-track debut of the Swift 016.a/Mazda-Cosworth/Yokohama were all about smiles, Thursday's focus on the second test day of the 2006 Atlantic was all about miles.
After making its debut in front of a packed house at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles earlier this week, the new machine of the Yokohama Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda traveled to Firebird International Raceway just outside of Phoenix for its first road test. Jon Fogarty, the 2002 and 2004 Atlantic series champion, shook down the car on Wednesday. And while Fogarty and the throng of series and manufacturer support personnel on hand were happy to see the new car in action on day one, the concentration shifted Thursday to the durability and reliability of the '06 Atlantic.
Simulating two full-race, long-distance runs, the car ran over 230 miles under the hot Arizona sun throughout the course of the day bringing the two-day test total to 320 miles on the 1.25-mile Firebird East test track. From all accounts, the new generation car has surpassed all expectations.
"Today we really hit our stride getting done what we needed to do," said Fogarty. "We did two race-distance runs with no problems. The car was consistent and it has good balance. This car rewards hard driving. It's a little more forgiving than the previous Atlantic car and it affords more opportunity to slide the car around a little bit."
"As tests go, so far this one has gone as well as we possibly hope for," said Chris Norris, Chief Design Engineer for Swift Engineering, which has designed and manufactured the next generation of Atlantic cars. "Any issues that we've encountered have been very minor and the car seems to be performing as we hoped it would."
Representatives from all major series major manufacturers were trackside as Atlantic and Swift officials continued to perform various system tests on the car and all components including engine, electronics, brakes, tires and shock absorbers passed the rigorous tests with flying colors.
"Today we've really been able to make progress verifying functionality of all the car's operating systems," said Steve Sewell, Atlantic Series Technical Director. "The continued focus of the test is reliability and the putting miles on the car and we've found no limits so far. This car right now is the Energizer Bunny of race cars."
An unprecedented level of support is attending the three-day test to make sure the new generation Atlantic performs to its optimum level in its on-track debut. In addition to Swift personnel, Cosworth engineers are monitoring the performance of the new Mazda-Cosworth 2.3-liter, 300-horsepower engine while a full compliment of Yokohama and Trackside Performance workers are on hand to provide tires for the test. Pi Research is supervising the wiring, electronics and data collection. Dynamic Suspension is providing shock absorber support while Hewland Engineering is overseeing the gearbox performance at the test.
Another full day of testing is planned on Friday and officials hope to continue to see increased levels of reliability while focusing on different aspects of the car. "We plan to take what we've learned today and make sure that all systems are running properly and if they are we'll start down the path of taking some driver input and apply that to the setup of the car," said Sewell.
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 Mazda-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.