Aug 28

Future racing stars on display this weekend

As Atlantic Championship returns to Mosport

As the Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda makes its way to Mosport International Raceway for the first time since 1994, race fans will have the opportunity to see several international racing stars of the future in the 45-minute race which starts at 11:55 a.m. local time on Sunday.

Leading the way, as she has for most of the season, is championship leader Simona De Silvestro in the No. 78 Stargate Worlds/Maakoa/Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment/FireSky/Cardinal Technologies machine for Team Stargate Worlds.

De Silvestro is the most successful woman racer in the 36-year history of the Atlantic Championship owning five career victories and four pole positions. The 20-year-old Italian-Swiss driver’s four wins and four poles from this season have vaulted her to the top of the championship standings and she heads to Mosport with a 21-point lead in the championship over American John Edwards, 156-135,

Edwards, 18, of Cincinnati, Ohio has had an outstanding season in his own right, scoring three victories and two pole positions in his No. 36 MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development/Nuclear Clean Air Energy/NEI/Entergy entry from Newman Wachs Racing. The 2008 Star Mazda champion has finished on the podium in six of the season’s nine races.

Another driver with six podiums this season is Edwards’ Newman Wachs Racing teammate, Jonathan Summerton in the No. 34 Nuclear Clean Air Energy/Entergy/NEI machine. The 21-year-old Summerton of Kissimmee, Fla. has won twice this season and owns three pole positions in a season that has seen the American Formula 1 hopeful divide his season between Genoa Racing and Newman Wachs Racing. He is currently third in the championship standings with 127 points.

This weekend’s Atlantic field will also feature a special guest star that is sure to pique the interest of Canadian race fans as Robert Wickens of Guelph, Ontario returns to the series for the first time since 2007 to drive the No. 19 Genoa Racing entry.

As an Atlantic rookie two years ago, Wickens scored one victory, one pole position and four podium results on his way to third in the championship. The 20-year-old has been racing in Europe since then, competing in the World Series by Renault last year and the FIA Formula 2 Championship this year. He is currently second in the F2 point standings after 10 of 16 rounds.

Wickens teams with another talented young racer in rookie Frederic Vervisch. The 23-year-old Belgian returns to the cockpit of Genoa Racing’s No. 17 Quartier/Isomo/Shinokki machine looking for his seventh top-five result of the season. He is currently fourth in the overall championship standings with 99 points and leads the Rookie of the Year point standings by 18 points over Borja Garcia.

The 25-year-old Garcia, who hails from Valencia, Spain, is another rising star. He drives the No. 6 Celebfilms.co.uk/CJConsulting.us entry for Condor Motorsports and has finished inside the top five in five of his last seven Atlantic Championship starts. He is sixth in the overall championship standings, one point behind Tonis Kasemets.

Kasemets has been another consistent top-five runner this season in the No. 35 Fatburner machine for Polestar Motor Racing. The Estonian driver owns a total of five top-five results, with a best run of third in the second race of last month’s doubleheader at Autobahn Country Club in suburban Chicago. He has four top fives in his last five starts.

Another one to watch this weekend is defending series champion Markus Niemela in the No. 1 entry for Newcastle, Ontario-based Jensen MotorSport. Niemela has finished in the top five in each of his last two starts and owns four top fives from the season. He will be part of a two-car program from the Jensen team and will run alongside Atlantic veteran Eric Jensen. The owner/driver will be at the controls of the team’s No. 3 entry.

This weekend’s Atlantic field also include French rookie Max Lefevre in the No. 7 DOTMOBIL machine for Condor Motorsports. Lefevre’s best results of the season were seventh-place runs in Round 2 at Miller Motorsports Park and earlier this month at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

All Atlantic racecars this weekend will utilize Swift 016.a Atlantic chassis powered by 300-horsepower Mazda-Cosworth MZR engines capable of speeds in excess of 175 mph. Each entry will ride on Cooper Atlantic racing slicks and rain tires throughout the weekend.

Official on-track activities for the Atlantic Championship at the Grand Prix of Mosport get underway on Friday morning with practice from 10:40 to 11:10 a.m. ET. A second Atlantic practice session is slated to run from 2:40 to 3:10 p.m. Saturday’s lone on-track session for Atlantic is qualifying from 12:05 to 12:35 p.m. and an all-driver autograph session is also scheduled to run from 2:30 to 3:00 p.m. at the Cooper Tire display. Sunday’s race rolls off from a standing start beginning at 11:55 a.m. and the timed race will run for 45 minutes.

Live Timing & Scoring data, news and photos from throughout the weekend are available on the official website of the Atlantic Championship at www.atlantic-championship.com. Updates will also be available throughout the weekend via the series’ official YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/AtlanticRacingSeries, the Atlantic Championship Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Brownsburg-IN/Cooper-Tires-Presents-The-Atlantic-Championship-Powered-by-Mazda/90562133620?ref=mf) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/atlanticracing).


•    Great White North:  The Atlantic Championship, which has strong ties to Canada dating all the way back to the series’ inception in 1974, is spending its second of two weekends north of the border at this weekend’s Grand Prix of Mosport. The series raced at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres two weeks ago, and Simona De Silvestro won the race from the pole position in the No. 78 Team Stargate Worlds machine.

•    Everybody Gets A Mulligan:  The 2009 Atlantic Championship features a new wrinkle in the way the championship will be decided, as all drivers will earn points from their best 11 finishes in the 12-race season.

•    On The Road Again:  The 12-race 2009 Atlantic Championship schedule brings the series to many of North America’s most revered road racing circuits. The series shares seven race weekends with the American Le Mans Series at Sebring International Raceway, Miller Motorsports Park, Lime Rock Park, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Mosport International Raceway, Road Atlanta and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The Atlantic series is the “headline” attraction in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec and in doubleheader weekends at New Jersey Motorsports Park and Autobahn Country Club in suburban Chicago.

•    Local Favorites:  This weekend’s field includes two Canadian drivers. Robert Wickens of Guelph, Ontario, returns to the series for the first time since 2007 and will drive the No. 19 Genoa Racing entry. Also entered is Toronto’s Eric Jensen in the No. 3 Jensen MotorSport machine. Jensen MotorSport is based in Newcastle, Ontario and is also fielding the No. 1 entry for defending series champion Markus Niemela of Finland.

•    International Flair:  This weekend’s race will feature drivers representing eight different countries. The United States and Canada each have two drivers in the field, with one each from Finland, Spain, France, Belgium, Estonia and Switzerland.

•    Rookies at Mosport:  This weekend’s field will include three Atlantic Championship rookies. The first-timers are Borja Garcia (No. 6 Condor Motorsports), Max Lefevre (No. 7 Condor Motorsports) and Frederic Vervisch (No. 17 Genoa Racing).
WHAT:        Grand Prix of Mosport

WHERE:     Mosport International Raceway; Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP EVENT SCHEDULE (All times local, ET):  FRIDAY, AUGUST 28 – Practice 1, 10:40 – 11:10 a.m.; Practice 2, 2:40 – 3:10 p.m. SATURDAY, AUGUST 29 –Qualifying, 12:05 – 12:35 p.m. SUNDAY, AUGUST 30 – Race – 11:55 a.m. – 12:40 p.m.

TRACK LAYOUT: 2.459-mile, 10-turn permanent road course

RACE LENGTH:  45 minutes

RACE ROUND:  Round 10 of the 12-race 2009 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda

NEXT EVENT:  Road Atlanta, September 25.

MOSPORT HISTORY (15 events, 1974-77, 1979, 1981-83, 1987-89, 1992-94)
Year        Race Winner                       Pole Winner
1974        Bill Brack                             Bertil Roos
1975        Elliott Forbes-Robinson       Bertil Roos
1976        Bobby Rahal                        Bobby Rahal
1977        Price Cobb                          Gilles Villeneuve
1979        Kevin Cogan                        Bob Earl
1981        Jacques Villeneuve*            Jacques Villeneuve*
1982-1     Whitney Ganz                     Norm Hunter
1982-2     Whitney Ganz                     Roberto Moreno
1983        Roberto Moreno                  Roberto Moreno
1987        Calvin Fish                          Steve Shelton
1988        Colin Trueman                    Steve Shelton
1989        Jocko Cunningham            Claude Bourbonnais
1992        David Empringham             David Empringham
1993        Claude Bourbonnais           Claude Bourbonnais
1994        Greg Ray                            Greg Ray

source: atlantic-championship.com