Australian champion Winslow lands Atlantic series ride
The United States of America is already a home to two former Australian Drivers Championship winners - and now a third is on his way.
2009 Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship winner James Winslow yesterday announced that he has signed a deal with Conquest Racing to compete in the 2009 Atlantic Championship, one of the USA's premier Open Wheel development series'.
2002 Gold Star winner Will Power and 1998 champion Scott Dixon have already forged successful careers in the USA with both having success in IndyCar competition; Dixon winning last year's Indianapolis 500-mile race, one of the biggest sporting events in the world.
Whilst both Dixon and Power won their titles before Formula 3 was granted Gold Star status in 2005, Power - like Winslow - achieved notable success in Australian F3 when he finished second in the championship in 2002.
Last year Winslow became just the second ever British driver to win the title, taking it by four points after a thrilling final round-showdown with Leanne Tander and Nathan Caratti. The title was Winslow's second in Formula 3 competition - having already won the Asian F3 series two years before.
That Winslow was offered the drive by Team Owner Eric Bachelart shows the continuing and growing international relevance of the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship; backed up by the likes of fellow British driver Joey Foster joining the championship this year, not to mention many series graduates forging strong careers domestically.
Leanne Tander has just been signed to contest the V8 Supercar endurance races with Wilson Security Racing, whilst 2003 F3 champion Michael Caruso will return for another season with Garry Rogers Motorsport. Australian F3 race winners Marcus Marshall and Tim Slade will also be part of the 2009 grid. Winslow had previously been in discussions with several Fujitsu V8 Supercar series teams prior to confirming his Atlantic Championship drive.
"I'm jumping straight in the car without much preparation but I'm sure Conquest Racing and I will do well together," said Winslow, who will make his Atlantic debut at the famous Sebring 12 hour event in Florida. "I know the team having tested a Champ Car with them before in 2007 and got on with them really well. I'm very confident that they will put out a very strong car this year and I'm looking forward to repaying their faith in selecting me as one of their drivers this year."
Conquest Racing will this year run cars in both the Atlantic Championship and the IndyCar series, having ended 2008 on a high by placing driver Alex Tagliani inside the top five in the final IndyCar race held on the streets of the Gold Coast.
This years Atlantic Championship will present a $1million US cash prize to the champion and $500,000 to second place as part of a record $3 million dollar prize fund for the year.
The fight to become the next Australian Drivers Champion will begin at this weeks' Clipsal 500 Adelaide in South Australia, round one of the 2009 Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship. www.formula3.com.au