Andreas Wirth Honored With Prestigious Gilles Villeneuve Award Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin -- September 27, 2006 -- After a season full of ups and downs, emotional highs and lows and the disappointment of not becoming the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic...
Andreas Wirth Honored With Prestigious Gilles Villeneuve Award
Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin -- September 27, 2006 -- After a season full of ups and downs, emotional highs and lows and the disappointment of not becoming the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Champion, nothing could have been sweeter than for Andreas Wirth to be presented with the coveted Gilles Villeneuve Award at the season-ending banquet this past weekend.
The prestigious Gilles Villeneuve award, named after the legendary Canadian Formula One star and 1976 Toyota Atlantic Champion, is traditionally bestowed upon "the driver in the series who possesses extraordinary ability, 'star' quality and who has distinguished himself through sportsmanship, dedication and perseverance in the face of disappointment." The recipient of this coveted award is determined by a special voting committee of series officials and team owners.
Dedication and perseverance are two words that aptly describe Andreas Wirth. With his rookie season in the Toyota Atlantics being cut short by an unfortunate accident, this strong contender came back to the Atlantic Series in 2006 with something to prove. Looking to build on an extremely strong and consistent 2005, Wirth shone at the beginning of the 2006 season leading the Long Beach season-opener from wire to wire. Wirth's third career win in Houston Texas represented the first time in fourteen years that a driver captured back-to-back wins in the opening two rounds of Atlantic competition. In all, Wirth enjoyed six trips to the podium (two first place finishes and four third place finishes), and a total of eight top ten finishes in the twelve events on the 2006 calendar.
Wirth is proud to have been a part of one of the closest championship battles in Atlantic series history, competing along side some of the world's top rising stars of open-wheel racing. Of this, Wirth had this to say; "It was a really great season overall, and I'm proud to have been a part of it. Obviously, my goal was to become the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Champion, so I can't say that I'm completely satisfied to finish third overall. However, I am proud that I gave the top-two a real run for the money. I was a contender right up until Montreal, and in the end, I was just 15 points behind second place and 31 behind the Champion."
The 2006 Gilles Villeneuve Award recipient also had this to say; "I was so surprised when they called my name for the Gilles Villeneuve Trophy! It's just awesome to receive such a prestigious award, and I can't thank everyone enough for this privilege. It kind of helps take away some of the disappointment I feel about not taking the championship this year. It's a really nice way to close out the season."
In conclusion, Wirth had this to say of his season in the Champ Car Atlantics with the Forsythe Championship Racing Team; I really have to thank Forsythe Racing for the opportunity they gave me this year. It's hard to express how much I appreciate all that Jerry (Forsythe), Peter (Davies) and John (Brunner) did to put such a great team together this year. All the guys on the team, the mechanics, the engineers, the people in the office and hospitality -- just everyone -- they've been the best! My Engineer, Nick ( Harvey) has been just awesome, and I don't know what I'd have done without him. Really, just saying thank-you doesn't seem like enough. We've all had a lot of fun this year, and I've enjoyed racing along side Richard (Philippe), Leo (Maia) and James (Hinchcliffe) -- it's been a blast!"
"Also, I can't forget to thank all of the people in my life that do so much to support me behind the scenes -- both friends and family. My parents have been there for me since the beginning, encouraging me and supporting me since I was just a little kid. They do all they can to help make my dream a reality, and I just can't thank them enough."
Andreas wants to recognize all who were involved in the Champ Car Atlantic Series this season -- the teams, the series and of course all of the fans -- and he encourages everyone to keep an eye out for news on his progress as he strives to be a part of the Champ Car World Series in 2007.