CHAMP CAR ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP TO
RE-INTRODUCE STANDING STARTS IN 2006
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 14, 2006 – With a brand new competition package and an influx of new teams and drivers, many aspects of the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama will take on a fresh look and feel in 2006. At several events this season, however, North America’s top open-wheel development series will turn back the clock and resurrect a longtime staple of Atlantic racing. Stationary or “standing” starts at the beginning of races will make their reappearance at select events in 2006.
With an expanded Atlantic field expected this season, series officials continue to determine the precise number of tracks where standing starts will be practical during the ’06 campaign. The popular, Formula One-style starts are more likely to take place on wider road course circuits. The first standing starts of the season are scheduled to take place in both races of the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland doubleheader weekend, June 24-25 (Rounds 5 and 6) at the wide-open, 2.106-mile Burke Lakefront Airport runway road course.
“We’ve closely examined the re-introduction of standing starts in Atlantics and we’re prepared to do it on tracks where it’s feasible in 2006,” said Tony Cotman, Champ Car Vice President of Operations. “There are a number of factors that will help determine where we can institute standings starts, such as the number of cars in the field, the width of the track and the configuration of the circuit, but we plan on doing it at as many venues as possible, as long as it provides for safe and clean racing.”
Standing starts were a longtime tradition in the Atlantic championship since the inception of the series in 1974. Atlantic stalwarts such as Bill Brack, Bobby Rahal, Gilles Villeneuve, Price Cobb, Keke Rosberg, Kevin Cogan and Howdy Holmes all earned victories in the early days of the series by taking the green flag from a stationary position on the starting grid. Atlantics first went to a rolling start at the series’ first oval race at the Milwaukee Mile in 1988. The championship continued to use standing starts at all road and street course events until the beginning of the 1999 season when Atlantics switched exclusively to rolling green-flag starts.
“The tradition of standing starts has a long and rich history in the Atlantic championship,” said Champ Car President Steve Johnson. “Although we are entering a new era of competition in the Champ Car Atlantic series this season, we’ve listened to our fans and their desire to see standing starts return to the series. With the impressive number of entries and the high-level of competition we expect to see in Atlantics, adding standing starts at several events in 2006 will only add to the excitement and enhance what promises to be a very entertaining championship.”
Series officials will unveil the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Championship car this evening at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. Several other Atlantic and Champ Car special announcements are planned. To watch all of the action from tonight's festivities, log on to either www.champcaratlantic.com or www.champcarworldseries.com for the live webcast scheduled to begin at 10:30 p.m. ET.
The Champ Car Atlantic Championship continues to be the premier open-wheel development series in North America. Beginning its 33rd season in 2006, the championship is noted for its long history of graduating its stars into Champ Car competition and has helped produce past Champ Car champions Paul Tracy, Jimmy Vasser, Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan, Michael Andretti and Jacques Villeneuve. 2005 Champ Car competitors Alex Tagliani, Andrew Ranger and Ronnie Bremer are also established Atlantic graduates along with 2004 Champ Car Rookie of the Year and 2003 Atlantic champ A.J. Allmendinger. Competing in newly-designed Swift 016.a chassis powered by a 2.3-liter Cosworth engine riding on Yokohama ADVAN Racing Slicks, 2006 competitors will fight for the 12-race championship and the unique $2 million Champ Car series champion’s bonus. For more information on the Atlantic series, please visit www.champcaratlantic.com.