CHAMP CAR ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP AND YOKOHAMA TO PART WAYS AFTER 2006 SEASON Series To Name New Tire Partner and Sponsor Later This Week INDIANAPOLIS (May 30, 2006) -- The Yokohama Tire Corporation and the Champ Car Atlantic Championship...
CHAMP CAR ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP AND YOKOHAMA TO PART WAYS AFTER 2006 SEASON
Series To Name New Tire Partner and Sponsor Later This Week
INDIANAPOLIS (May 30, 2006) -- The Yokohama Tire Corporation and the Champ Car Atlantic Championship have mutually agreed to end their partnership after the completion of the 2006 Atlantic season.
Yokohama will continue to serve as the Official Tire and presenting sponsor of the Yokohama Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda throughout the 2006 campaign, but the two entities have decided to part company after the season, bringing to an end a relationship that has lasted for the past 18 years.
The Champ Car Atlantic Championship will feature a new exclusive tire supplier and series sponsor beginning in 2007. The series is expected to announce this new partnership within the next few days.
"The Atlantic series thanks Yokohama for their unwavering support and dedication over the years," said Vicki O'Connor, Managing Director of the Yokohama Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda. "Yokohama has been a valued partner of the series for over 18 years and throughout the changes in Atlantic competition over that period, Yokohama tires have remained reliable and have certainly helped raise the level of racing to where it is today. The relationship will continue through the end of the 2006 season and we wish Yokohama nothing but the best of luck for the future."
The Atlantic series and Yokohama first began their association in 1989 when Yokohama signed on as an official sponsor and tire supplier for North America's top open-wheel development series. While the two companies have agreed to part ways after this season, both remain committed to one another for 2006. Yokohama will continue to support its Atlantic partnership this season through its series tire contingency program, its presence at all events and series test sessions with its at-track partner, Trackside Performance, and its Yokohama Dealer Challenge.
"Over our 18 years of partnership with the Atlantic Championship, we have been privileged to witness the birth of so many great careers, whether it was drivers, mechanics, owners or marketing personnel," said Robert Dole, Product Promotions Manager for Yokohama. "We are very proud to have been part of the series, through all its phases, and now to see it grow to the level it is today. While 2006 will mark the end of our run, we intend to make it our best season yet, including the tire contingency program and our innovative dealer activation program. In fact, we look forward to the season-ending celebration when one of Yokohama's independent dealers will actually be part of the winning Champ Car Atlantic Championship team."
Created this season, the unique dealer activation program offers eight top Yokohama dealers from across the country an opportunity to support and follow 24 of the current Atlantic drivers in their pursuit of the elusive series championship by carrying the dealer's name and logo on the select Atlantic machines in 2006.
"We express our thanks and gratitude to everyone at the Atlantic Championship and Champ Car for such a great relationship, especially Vicki O'Connor," added Dole. "The heart and drive of Vicki and her staff is the key reason Atlantics is the top driver development series in the world and we will miss everyone."
The Champ Car Atlantic Championship continues to be the premier open-wheel development series in North America. In 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. 2006 Champ Car competitors Alex Tagliani, Andrew Ranger, Katherine Legge, Tonis Kasemets 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. 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 series and to view this season's races on demand, please visit www.champcaratlantic.com.