Atlantic Championship Schedule Features New Look in 2009 BROWNSBURG, Ind. (November 6, 2008) - The 2009 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda schedule unveiled today represents a substantial departure...
Atlantic Championship Schedule Features New Look in 2009
BROWNSBURG, Ind. (November 6, 2008) - The 2009 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda schedule unveiled today represents a substantial departure from previous Atlantic schedules but will bring the series to many new and important markets.
The 11-weekend schedule features five venues that hosted the series in 2008, four venues that hosted Atlantic events at some point in the past and two facilities that will feature Atlantic Championship competition for the first time. Owing to the series being sanctioned by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), seven weekends will be shared with the American Le Mans Series. The Atlantic Championship will be the featured attraction on three other weekends and the 2009 series will get underway in March alongside the new Green Prix USA in Savannah, Ga. Green Prix USA is owned by Ben Johnston, who also recently completed his purchase of Atlantic Racing Series, LLC.
"We believe our 2009 schedule is full of outstanding and challenging events for our drivers and teams, in markets that are valuable to all of our sponsor partners," said Atlantic Championship President Vicki O'Connor. "With IMSA as our sanctioning body and the outstanding growth the American Le Mans Series has been experiencing for the past few years, it obviously made a lot of sense to share a majority of our weekends with American Le Mans. We are excited to start the year in Savannah with Green Prix USA, and also feel that the three ‘feature' events have the potential to be great for our drivers, teams and sponsors."
After opening the season in April for the past five seasons, the 2008 Atlantic Championship campaign gets underway on the weekend of March 15 alongside the inaugural Green Prix USA event in Savannah. The St. Patrick's Day weekend race will be contested on a 1.98-mile road course situated on the beautiful Hutchinson Island, and will be the first professional auto race held on the track in more than 10 years. The race is subject to circuit homologation.
Just one weekend later, the Atlantic Championship drivers and teams make their way a few hundred miles to the south to Sebring International Raceway, site of the legendary American Le Mans Series season-opening Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring. The Central Florida facility has been a popular testing destination for Atlantic teams for several years, but the 2009 event will be the first Atlantic race at Sebring since the 1988 East Coast Atlantic Racing season finale, which was won by Scott Harrington.
Round 3 of the 2009 Atlantic Championship returns the series to Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, which hosted its first Atlantic event in September, was won by eventual series champion Markus Niemela from the pole position. This race will be run as part of popular Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix for the American Le Mans Series.
The weekend of June 14 marks the first "feature" event of the season for the Atlantic Championship with a return to Thunderbolt Raceway at New Jersey Motorsports Park, which also hosted its first Atlantic race this year, won by American rising star Carl Skerlong. The event weekend may feature the series' lone "doubleheader" of the season.
On the weekend of July 18, the Atlantic series rejoins with the American Le Mans Series for a race on the historic Lime Rock Park circuit in Lakeville, Conn. It will be the first Atlantic race at Lime Rock since 1992, which was won from the pole position by Chris Smith.
One weekend later, on July 25, the series heads for another facility new to Atlantic machinery, the Autobahn Country Club in the Chicago suburb of Joliet, Ill. The race-which is also subject to circuit homologation-will be contested on Autobahn's 3.56-mile full circuit, which was designed by noted track designer Alan Wilson.
The weekend of August 8 will feature the first Atlantic Championship event at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course since 2003, once again alongside the American Le Mans Series. Mid-Ohio has hosted 19 previous Atlantic races, the last of which was won by Michael Valiante in 2003.
The wildly popular Grand-Prix de Trois-Rivieres returns to the Atlantic schedule once again in 2009 on the weekend of August 16. The Atlantic race will once again be the featured attraction at the annual Canadian street event, which was won from the pole position this year by American Jonathan Bomarito. This year's event marked the return of Atlantic to Trois-Rivieres for the first time since 2003.
The Atlantic series stays north of the border for its next event with a visit to Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario on the weekend of August 30 alongside the American Le Mans Series. It will be the first Atlantic race at the facility since 1994, which was won from the pole position by Greg Ray. Mosport has hosted 15 previous Atlantic events.
After closing the 2008 season at Road Atlanta, the Atlantic Championship will contest its penultimate round of the 2009 campaign at the Braselton, Ga. circuit on the weekend of September 27 as part of the prestigious Petit Le Mans festivities for the American Le Mans Series. This year's race-the first Atlantic race at the facility since 1993-was won by Niemela, who clinched the series championship with the victory.
The 2009 Atlantic Championship campaign will draw to a close once again at a favorite stop for all of the teams, drivers, sponsors and series officials, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on the weekend of October 11. The race will be run in conjunction with the American Le Mans Series season finale on the Monterey, Calif. road circuit. It will be the 13th time that Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will host the Atlantic season finale, and will be the 30th Atlantic race to be held overall at the facility. Earlier this year, Canadian James Hinchcliffe won the first Atlantic event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca since 2006.
Plans for television coverage of the 2009 Atlantic Championship schedule will be announced shortly.