Atlantic Championship Ready for First Open Test of 2007

After a flurry of off-season testing activity, the competitors of the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda are anxious to hit the track en masse this weekend at the first of three series open test sessions.

Sebring International Raceway will be the site of the first series-sanctioned open test of 2007 as the challenging bumpy road circuit will host the 300hp Mazda-Cosworth-powered Swift racing machines riding on the new Cooper Atlantic tires this weekend. More than 20 of the Atlantic rockets-in-training are expected to take to the track January 27-28 as the teams prepare for the 34th season of Atlantic racing.

The two-day test session to drop the green flag on 2007 comes after a fall and winter team testing period that brought an all-time high in Atlantic action. Series officials reported that more than 40 drivers tested among 14 different teams in the four-month period between the end of the 2006 season on September 24 and the January 15 cut-off date for teams to conduct individual testing.

“We’ve never witnessed such a busy ‘off-season’ of testing," remarked Vicki O’Connor, managing director of the Champ Car Atlantic Championship who’s entering her 22nd season at the helm of the series. “Our teams have literally tested some of the top young drivers from all over the world and it really underscores the international appeal of the Champ Car Atlantic Championship. With such an impressive level of talent, I think we’re all excited to get our first glimpse of what the 2007 field will look like this weekend in Sebring."

The Sebring test session is the first of three two-day series tests available to all ’07 Atlantic competitors. The MSR Houston road course in Angleton, Texas will host the Atlantics on February 9-10, while Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California will be the site of the final pre-season test, March 7-8. The ’07 Atlantic schedule officially gets underway with the inaugural Vegas Grand Prix Fueled by Visa, April 6-8 on the downtown streets of Las Vegas, Nevada.

With 15 drivers already announced for the upcoming season among 17 Atlantic teams – and several more driver announcements planned in the next few weeks – this season is already shaping up to be one of the most exciting and competitive in the rich history of the Atlantic Championship.

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