Atlantic Championship Series returns for 2014
For better or worse, open-wheel racing in America is nowhere near as popular – among drivers or fans – as stock-car racing. The IndyCar Series is still struggling to regain the standing it enjoyed before it split and then rejoined. Efforts to launch an American team in Formula One have floundered. The United States Grand Prix has bounced on and off the grid and to a number of locations. America hasn't sent one of its own drivers into F1 since Scott Speed, and it hasn't sent a successful one since Mario Andretti. Even the Indianapolis 500 hasn't been won by an American in over seven years.
That could come down in part to a lack of effective feeder series of aspiring open-wheel racers in America, but Formula Race Promotions is out to fix that. The organizing body runs the F1600 and F2000 series, and is now gearing up to relaunch the Atlantic Championship next year.
The Atlantic Championship, for those unacquainted, is one of the feeder series that sent new talent up into the IndyCar and even F1 ranks. Michael Andretti, both Gilles and Jacques Villeneuve, Danica Patrick, Alex Tagliani, Dan Wheldon and Ryan Hunter-Reay (to name just a few) all started out in Atlantics. But after changing names and formats several times over the years, the Atlantic Championship ceased operations in 2009.
Formula Race Promotions ran six exhibition races over three weekends last year and took this year to retool, but it's now ready to launch a full ten-round season for 2014. It's lined up Hoosier to provide the control tires and promises to provide up-and-coming drivers with a lot of track time and reasonable costs. The series will run alongside the F1600 and F2000 series, but only time will tell if it proves more suitable to fostering American racing talent than the IndyLights or Pro Mazda Championship.
Press Release: Atlantic Championship Series Rolls for 2014
Formula Race Promotions today confirmed that the Atlantic Championship Series will race in 2014, as the Series will expand to include five full event weekends with two races each, comprising a 10-round Championship calendar presented by Hoosier Racing Tire.
Formula Race Promotions operated the Atlantic campaign in 2012, running an exhibition season with three race weekends and six rounds. A hiatus year was taken in 2013 to formulate an expanded operation, and a schedule including top race tracks in the country is nearing completion with dates at Watkins Glen, Road Atlanta, Virginia International Raceway and more already booked.
"The enthusiasm I experienced last weekend from the Atlantic entrants at the 50th Anniversary SCCA Runoffs at Road America convinced me that the time is right to present the racers, teams and fans an expanded season for this iconic class of spectacular cars in 2014," said Series Managing Director Michael Rand. "An exciting season of one double-race weekend per month starting in April and winding up on Labor Day weekend at great race tracks holds great promise for all."
While other forms of the pro class have focused on a spec chassis, Formula Race Promotions will, like in 2012, allow all Atlantic cars a level playing field.
Fans can look forward to seeing and hearing the likes of Swift 014/Toyotas going up against the current generation Swift 016/Mazdas, and the occasional Ralt RT40 or RT41 challenging at the front of the field.
In 2012, David Grant cruised to the title for Polestar Racing Group, winning four of six races in his Swift 014. Grant moved laterally in 2013, racing in the F2000 Series, and even making a pair of F1600 starts, with two second place finishes.
The Atlantic cars will join the F2000 and F1600 Series on all their race weekends in 2014.
Similar to the business model behind F2000 and F1600, Atlantic drivers and teams can expect hefty amounts of track time, reasonable entry and registration costs, a controlled spec tire from Hoosier, and a dedicated and hard-working Series staff at every event.
The full F2000, F1600 and Atlantic schedule will be released shortly.