Tony Ave Racing Considering 2009 Atlantic Championship Former Pro Atlantic standout and race winner Tony Ave is considering a return to the Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda in 2009, and would be doing so with his own operation for the first time.
Tony Ave Racing, based in Maiden, N.C. is currently the leading manufacturer of Trans-Am style tube frame sports cars for the SCCA based GT-1 class as well as the recently re-launched pro Trans-Am series.
“Our sports car business is strong right now, our cars have dominated in the US, Costa Rica, and Puerto Rico, so fortunately we are really busy,” Ave says. “Now may be the perfect time to diversify our operation a bit, and Atlantic racing has always held a big interest to me. Besides, I could use that one million dollar bonus.”
Tony Ave competed on and off in the Atlantic Championship as a driver from 1993 through 2003, only running one full season during that time, but was consistently one of the guys to beat, despite running with some of the smallest teams. That would no longer be the case.
“We have a 25,000 square-foot facility, with all the resources at hand we could need,” said Ave. “We are seriously looking to do at least a one-car team, perhaps two if the right deal could be found.”
While Ave’s sports car operation could field as many as six entries in the Trans-Am series in 09, any attempt at Atlantic would see a completely separate at-track staff, although the open-wheel and sports car divisions would share things such as the composite and fabrication departments and machine shop, which are already up and running.
“There are some economies of scale for us, but most important is that Atlantic is standing on its own, and could become a destination series, much like it was for (1974 and 1975 Atlantic champion) Bill Brack and the like. There will still be plenty of young guns, but maybe there needs to be a few guys like me for them to measure themselves against.”