Drivers having productive off-season

Drivers having productive off-season

15.11.2008: Drivers having productive off-season

News, Notes & Quotes from the Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda

The 2008 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda season ended little more than a month ago, but many 2008 Atlantic competitors have been busy in a number of different ways since the season ended.

Last week, reigning Atlantic champion Markus Niemela was joined by 2008 Atlantic teammates Carl Skerlong and Frankie Muniz at the world famous SEMA Show in Las Vegas. The trio of drivers participated in autograph sessions at the Cooper Tire display.

Shortly before his appearance at SEMA, Muniz teamed up with another 2008 Atlantic competitor, Simona De Silvestro to finish third overall in a six-hour endurance karting event in Monaco on October 19. Muniz and De Silvestro shared the No. 41 StargateWorlds.com-sponsored kart with French racer Gregory Breuer for Team Brightec. Forty-four karts participated in the event which was organized by the Automobile Club of Monaco.

"I had a great time racing in the six-hour Monaco Kart Cup," said Muniz. "It was a whole new experience for me to be racing karts, and then to finish on the podium in a very strong field just made it a very memorable and amazing weekend. I was very happy to have been a part of the www.brightec.com team sponsored by www.stargateworlds.com. My teammates, Simona and Greg, drove so incredibly. I was really lucky to be a part of such a strong team."

"I am a ‘kart-aholic,’" De Silvestro added. "I started off in karts and I cherish any chance of being able to compete at a professional level in that category. Being out in Monaco at this prestigious event was a great opportunity. Being able to run strong through all the sessions and finish on the podium made things very special.

 I am so glad to have shared this experience with Frankie and I hope we do it again next year. I would like to thank our team sponsor www.stargateworlds.com and also Mr. Gary Whiting for having come out all the way to see Frankie and I compete. It was a great weekend and I look forward to next year. I hope we can win it then!"

Last weekend, two ’08 Atlantic combatants were at it again as David Garza and Daniel Morad competed in the A1GP event at the Chengdu circuit in China. Garza represented Team Mexico in the "World Cup of Motorsport" event, while Canadian Morad was in the Team Lebanon entry.

Each A1GP race weekend features a "sprint" race and a "feature" race. Morad finished 12th in the sprint and 13th in the feature, while Garza, who was making his first-ever A1GP appearance, finished 16th in the sprint and 15th in the feature.

Both drivers are expected to compete in the next A1GP event at Sepang in Malaysia on the weekend of November 21-23. Covering the action on international television was another familiar face to Atlantic aficionados, as Canadian James Hinchcliffe is one of the pit reporters for the world feed.

This week, Americans Jonathan Bomarito and Dane Cameron were both busy testing Mazda RX-8s at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for potential runs in the 2009 Grand-Am Rolex 24 At Daytona. Bomarito joined MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder drivers Jason Saini, Joel Miller and Ben Devlin in the No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 alongside the car’s normal co-drivers Sylvain Tremblay and Nick Ham.

Tremblay and Ham won the GT class in the Rolex 24 earlier this year alongside David Haskell and 2007 Atlantic champion Raphael Matos. The SpeedSource team is looking for a fourth driver to complete its driver lineup for January’s 24-hour race.

"I would like to thank everyone at Mazda and the SpeedSource racing team for giving up and coming drivers a chance," Bomarito said. "Mazda has been instrumental in getting many drivers to the top levels of motorsport and I am honored to be a part of that. SpeedSource did an amazing job outlining and preparing us for the test and it was a lot of fun to be a part of their team for the past couple of days."

Cameron, meanwhile, shared the No. 30 Racers Edge Motorsports Mazda RX-8 with co-drivers Doug Peterson, Dion von Moltke and Jordan Taylor. It was Cameron’s first experience on the 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway, which features 31-degree banking.

"It’s a pretty impressive place," Cameron said. "You don’t really get a respect for how steep the banking is here until you get your first run on it. It’s a pretty cool place."

 

 - Nate Siebens-

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15.11.2008 / MaP

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