Team USA Scholarship winner and 2007 Pacific F2000 Champion Patrick Barrett acquitted himself well on Wednesday in testing one of the Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda race cars from PR1 Motorsports at Buttonwillow Raceway.
The 18-year-old Barrett earned the test as one of his prizes for taking the Pacific F2000 title and was made possible by Cooper Tire & Rubber Company and Cosworth, which are partners common to both Champ Car Atlantic and Pacific F2000. Under nearly ideal weather conditions, Barrett completed 170-180 miles in the test, and used two sets of Cooper Atlantic Racing Slicks. Barrett won his Pacific F2000 title driving for PR1 Motorsports, and the Los Osos, Calif. resident tested alongside Champ Car Atlantic veteran Mike Forest.
“It was really nice to be able to work with Patrick outside of our norm,” said PR1 Motorsports owner Bobby Oergel. “The kid did a great job! He built all day and had some pretty respectable lap times, especially toward the end of the day. Mike also did a great job and—as these things tend to go when you’ve got two cars on track—he and Patrick pushed each other all day. We’re pretty pleased. It really was a great day. I have to thank Cooper, Cosworth and Champ Car, as well as Pacific F2000 and Buttonwillow Raceway for making this test happen for us.”
It was Barrett’s second time in a Champ Car Atlantic machine, as he won an Atlantic test last fall with U.S. RaceTronics as part of his Team USA Scholarship experience. Oergel pointed out that the previous experience in the car certainly factored into Barrett’s ability to work up to speed quickly, as did his familiarity with the PR1 Motorsports team.
"I had a great time driving the Champ Car Atlantic car with PR1 Motorsports,” Barrett said. “I really enjoyed seeing and working with everyone on the team again. The car was a blast to drive. We worked mostly on pushing myself and finding the limits of the car. There's a lot of grip available in the car because of the downforce it produces. It was great having Mike Forest's help too. He provided great data and motivation on and off the track. I think it was a successful day and I really learned a lot about driving the Champ Car Atlantic. I again want to thank Champ Car, Champ Car Atlantic, Cosworth, Cooper Tire, Buttonwillow Raceway, Ric Forest and especially Bobby and Lisa Oergel at PR1 Motorsports for this opportunity. I enjoyed every second it!"
Next up for the Champ Car Atlantic Championship is the first of three open test sessions to be held prior to the start of the 35th Anniversary season of Atlantic at Long Beach on April 20. The first open test of 2008 will be held at the famed Sebring International Raceway circuit in Central Florida. Atlantic cars will take to the 1.669-mile “short course” on February 5-6.
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