Atlantic series to continue in 2010 With rumors of its demise and dwindling field size, today the 2010 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda announced it will again team up with the American Le Mans Series and be sanctioned by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) in 2010.
While the 2010 schedule is still being finalized, Atlantic supporters should expect a calendar similar to the 2009 slate. The Atlantic Championship has already shared the stage with the American Le Mans Series on four weekends and the two series will be on the same card three more times this year, including this weekend at Mosport International Raceway, at Road Atlanta next month and at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in October to close out the year.
“The Atlantic Championship has firmly established itself as the top rung of the open wheel developmental ladder,” said Scott Atherton, President/CEO of the American Le Mans Series. “The series has a rich history of developing many of today’s top professional drivers. The American Le Mans Series looks forward to being involved with its future growth and continued success.”
This year’s Atlantic schedule also featured “headline” events for Atlantic at New Jersey Motorsports Park, Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Ill. and the iconic Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières street race in Quebec. In addition to finalizing the schedule, Atlantic officials are also working diligently on plans for television coverage of the 2010 championship.
“As we begin to wind down our 2009 championship, we are also working full speed ahead on the 2010 Atlantic Championship,” said series president Ben Johnston. “We are delighted to continue alongside the American Le Mans Series next year with sanctioning from IMSA. American Le Mans Series races remain the best-attended road racing events in North America, and are contested at many classic road courses on this continent. As a road racing championship, it only makes sense for us to continue to align our series with the American Le Mans Series.”
While the series continues to be owned and operated by Johnston and his staff, the Atlantic Championship will continue to be conducted under the IMSA Code, which establishes and oversees event, participant and safety parameters and conduct, as well as governing rules for each of its sanctioned series. As part of the agreement, IMSA will also continue to provide Timing & Scoring to the series, as it has throughout the 2009 season. IMSA first sanctioned the Atlantic Championship in 1976 and has sanctioned the Atlantic Championship since 2008.
“Like IMSA, the Atlantic Championship is a series with great history and we are proud to continue our relationship into 2010,” said Scot Elkins, IMSA Vice President, Operations. “All involved in the Atlantic Championship are consummate professionals and it is a pleasure to work with everybody in the series, from the drivers and teams to the sponsors and series officials. Atlantic remains one of the most important driver development series in the world.”
Next up for the Atlantic Championship is this afternoon’s Round 10 of the 12-race 2009 calendar, the Grand Prix of Mosport, on Sunday, August 30 at Mosport International Raceway. Simona De Silvestro leads the championship standings by 21 points, 156-135, over John Edwards.