ATLANTIC SERIES OUTLOOK STRONG AS TEAMS PREPARE FOR 2000 SEASON HIGHLAND PARK, Ill., November 12, 1999 - Nearly 20 teams fielding up to 30 or more cars already have committed to the 2000 season of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship,...
ATLANTIC SERIES OUTLOOK STRONG AS TEAMS PREPARE FOR 2000 SEASON
HIGHLAND PARK, Ill., November 12, 1999 - Nearly 20 teams fielding up to 30 or more cars already have committed to the 2000 season of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, including the formation of a new, off-shoot team that could figure into the mix by season's end.
The top Atlantic teams from recent years are committed to the upcoming Atlantic season, already testing in preparation for 2000, with 1999 season championship team PPI and driver Andrew Bordin topping the list.
"We're thrilled that Andrew will be with us for a second season," said PPI Atlantic program manager Nick Harvey. "Right now, we're working hard on finalizing our driver/ sponsor package for the other Atlantic car. We are evaluating a number of promising options at the moment and we hope to be able to announce our selection by mid-December."
Lynx Racing, which dominated the series in 1996 and 1997, is bolstering itself for 2000, and former Lynx Racing chief engineer Jim Griffith is heading up the new DSTP team, owned by Dede Rogers.
"There have been some personnel changes at Lynx, but the core of the team remains together and strong. And our mission remains the same -- to seek out young drivers who have championship potential and provide them with the resources, training and experience to make the jump to the top levels of the sport," said Lynx Racing co-owner Peggy Haas.
Michael Shank Racing, which finished second in the title-chase this past season, is in the process of testing for 2000, with up to three cars running the championship. Forsythe Racing has committed to a multiple-car team, with World Speed Motorsports and P-1 Racing also testing at this point. P-1 Racing could field up to three cars in 2000.
"We're planning on running three cars again next year," Shank said. "So it's really important for us to get to get back to developing the Swift chassis as soon as possible, as well as getting the drivers, engineers and mechanics working together as a team. Our goal is to have our 2000 line-up set by the beginning of December so we can get a full-fledged testing program underway."
Olsson Engineering is looking at a two-car effort next season and former Olsson Engineering driver Tom Wierenga has announced his plan to race at least one Team Wierenga entry, with Wierenga behind the wheel.
Active Motorsports, with one victory in 1999, is testing now, with up to three cars possibly hitting the grid in 2000. Hylton Motorsports is planning to return with up to two cars, Condor Racing will contest up to two cars, while Bob Perona, with his MediaOne sponsorship, has indicated he's ready for his second year of Atlantic racing.
John Brooks' BBPG team is preparing for another year of competition in 2000 by testing drivers to replace Brooks, who recently retired. J&J Racing, RDS Motorsports and Meehan Racing all plan on competing next year, as well.
"Swift has sold 47 cars at this point, so there are a lot of chassis in circulation right now that will probably find their way into the 2000 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship," said series president Vicki O'Connor. "The series looks stronger than ever at this point with nearly all the Atlantic teams undergoing some form of testing for next season."
The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship is an integral part of CART's development program, noted for graduating top open-wheel competitors into the upper echelons of racing. Among the racers who have graduated from the Atlantic series are current FedEx Championship Series drivers Michael Andretti, Alex Barron, Patrick Carpentier, Memo Gidley, Richie Hearn, Alex Tagliani and Jimmy Vasser, former Champ Car stars Bobby Rahal and Danny Sullivan, and 1997 FIA Formula One Champion Jacques Villeneuve. For more information on the series, please visit its Web site at http://www.toyota-atlantic.com.