STAR MAZDA 2006 CHAMPION ADRIAN CARRIO TO TEST FORSYTHE RACING ATLANTIC CAR INDIANAPOLIS (November 9, 2006) -- After an impressive season that saw him claim the 2006 Star Mazda Championship, 17-year-old Adrian "Ace" Carrio will get a chance to...
STAR MAZDA 2006 CHAMPION ADRIAN CARRIO TO TEST FORSYTHE RACING ATLANTIC CAR
INDIANAPOLIS (November 9, 2006) -- After an impressive season that saw him claim the 2006 Star Mazda Championship, 17-year-old Adrian "Ace" Carrio will get a chance to prove later this month that he's ready to compete in the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda.
Carrio distinguished himself among some of the other top young stars of open-wheel racing this season, winning the 12-race Star Mazda title. The native of Monument, Colorado produced two wins and six poles en route to the series championship and as a reward for his performance in '06 he'll get a chance to demonstrate his skills in a 300-horsepower Mazda-Cosworth/Swift/Cooper Atlantic car. Carrio will test with the Forsythe Championship Racing Atlantic team on Thursday, November 30 at Thunderhill Raceway Park in Willows, California.
Officials from the Champ Car Atlantic Championship, Mazda North America and the Star Mazda Championship announced the official testing program for the Star Mazda champion last May, formalizing the developmental relationship that's existed between Atlantic and the Star series over the past several years.
While Carrio will become the first driver to take advantage of the champion's testing program, he's certainly not the first Star Mazda racer to eye a move up to Atlantics after excelling in the Star system. Raphael Matos, the 2005 Star Mazda champion, just completed a very successful rookie season in Atlantics that saw him claim fourth in the '06 series title chase. Matos joined other notable Star Mazda graduates Graham Rahal, James Hinchcliffe and Robbie Pecorari in making a smooth transition from the Star cars into the Atlantic machines this season.
"I am really excited to be able to drive the Atlantic car with one of the best teams not only in the series, but in Champ Car as well," said Carrio. "I believe that the Star Mazda Championship and all of the competition that is there has made me ready for the next step. I am also excited to show what I can bring as a driver to the Atlantic series and follow the path of people like Raphael Matos and other former Star series competitors."
After traveling to Indianapolis next week to meet with the Forsythe team and get fitted for a seat in his new test ride, Carrio will tackle the three-mile, 15-turn Thunderhill track at the end of the month.
"Ace did a fantastic job this season and we're happy to work with Mazda to give him an opportunity to show what he can do in an Atlantic car," said Vicki O'Connor, Managing Director of the Champ Car Atlantic Championship. "As many of our teams are looking at prospective drivers for next season, I'm sure there will be plenty of people paying close attention to this test because we all saw just how impressive the Star Mazda drivers were in Atlantic action this year."
As part of the ongoing relationship with Star Mazda, and to further help foster the Mazda motorsports development program, Champ Car has also agreed to wave all entry and competition fees for the Star Mazda champion if they race in the Champ Car Atlantic Championship the season after winning the title.
"We are gratified that Mazda and Champ Car are giving this reward to our champion," said Gary Rodrigues, President of the Star Mazda Championship. "We are confident that Ace will represent us admirably, in the tradition of the many Star Mazda graduates that have preceded him to Champ Car Atlantic success. He ran a textbook campaign to win the Star Mazda Championship. Champ Car Atlantic is the logical next step in his motorsports career. The Star Mazda community will most certainly be cheering for him."
"The Mazda career ladder offers budding open-wheel racers the opportunity to grow their talents from a start in SCCA Club Racing all the way to the Champ Car Atlantic series," said Robert Davis, Mazda North American Operations' Senior Vice President, Product Development and Quality, and the man responsible for Mazda's North American motorsports operations through its MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development division. "To see a number of the top drivers in this year's Atlantic Championship come from the Star Mazda series, and many of those graduating from the SCCA Club Racing Formula Mazda series, is proof the ladder works. We have high hopes for Ace as his career goes forwards, and wish him Zoom-Zoom all the way to wherever his dreams and talent take him."
The Champ Car Atlantic Championship continues to be the premier open-wheel development series in North America. Preparing for its 34th season in 2007, 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. 2006 Champ Car competitors Alex Tagliani, Andrew Ranger, Katherine Legge, Tonis Kasemets, David Martinez and 2005 Atlantic champion Charles Zwolsman are established Atlantic graduates along with 2004 Champ Car Rookie of the Year and 2003 Atlantic champ A.J. Allmendinger and 2000 series champion Buddy Rice. Competing in Swift 016.a chassis powered by a 2.3-liter Mazda-Cosworth engine while riding on Cooper Tires, 2007 competitors will fight for the 12-race championship and the unique $2 million Champ Car series champion's bonus. For more information on the series and to view last season's races on demand, please visit www.champcaratlantic.com.