Junior Open Wheel Talent

News and Views on Drivers Chasing Open-Wheel Stardom

Atlantic Championship Test: PBIR

by Ryan Stringfield
Posted March 11, 2009 at 6:20 pm Atlantic Championship, Test

The Atlantic Championship drivers had their first official test over the last two-days at Palm Beach International Raceway. The combined results from both days are listed below. I have also added a few notes on the test at the bottom of this post…

1. Borja Garcia– Condor Motorsports – 1:07.286
2. John Edwards — Newman-Wachs – 1:07.556
3. Markus Niemela — Newman-Wachs – 1:07.881
4. Frankie Muniz — Team Stargate Worlds – 1:07.919
5. Harald Schlegelmilch — Conquest Racing – 1:08.116
6. Frederic Vervisch– Genoa Racing – 1:08.155
7. Jonathan Bomarito — Mathiasen Motorsports – 1:08.268
8. Matt Lee — Jensen Motorsports – 1:08.322
9. Simona De Silvestro — Team Stargate Worlds – 1:08.344
10. Alexander Rossi– Genoa Racing – 1:08.366
11. Max Lafevre — Condor Motorsports – 1:08.600
12. Michael Nacol — Jensen Motorsports – 1:11.124

A few notes on the test…

  • 2009 appears to be the “Year of Rookies” when looking at the entry lists across the various junior formula series here in North America. The first official Atlantic Championship test saw 6 series rookies take to the track…making up 50% of the drivers involved.
  • Borja Garcia appears to be the class of the field and the early favorite for a Sebring victory. He signed with Condor Motorsports earlier today. Did I already mention that he is a series rookie? Garcia was absolutely dominant, setting the pace both days. After doing a little research, here is what the internet turns up on him… Garcia is a 26-year-old race driver hailing from Valencia, Spain. His early career began in the Spanish karting ranks, where he won his first championship at the age of nine. He continued his developement in the karting ranks until 1999, when he first began to sample car racing. He moved into cars full-time in 2000, at the age of 17, winning the Spanish Formula Toyota 1300 Championship. In 2001, he ran 15 races in the World Series by Nissan with limited success. He returned to his winning ways in 2002, placing third in both the Spanish F3 and the Formula Nissan 2000 Championships. He won eight races that year, and it has been termed his break-out year. He continued his development in the Spanish F3 ranks for the next two seasons (2003-2004), claiming the overall championship in 2004 with 9 wins, 10. podiums. In 2005, he ran 22 races in the GP2 Championship and also did some testing for the Toyota Formula One team. In 2006, he took a small step back (if you would consider it that?)…by committing to run a full season in the World Series by Renault with RC Motorsport. He finished 2nd overall in the season championship, winning once and claiming 7 podiums. He returned to GP2 in 2007 by signing with Durango, a season that didn’t showcase his talents, where he ran 21 races but finished the season in 10th place. Last year, 2008, he returned to the World Series by Renault running five races with RC Motorsport. He also ran 12 Superleague Formula Races for Panoz, finishing 10th in the overall series. Bring us up to date…. Just looking at his resume, it would appear that he is a very quick driver who has had trouble finding the necessary funding to make the jump to the next level. The Atlantic Championship prize fund for 2009 is obviously attracting quite a few drivers who are in the same position. This looks to be an extremely exciting year. Watch for a very strong showing from Borja and Condor Motorsports.
  • Harold Schlegelmilch appears to be the “Most Improved Driver” of the test, based strictly on lap-times.
  • In late February, I wrote that this should be Frankie Muniz’s best year to date, so far he is proving me right. His times in the first test are very impressive.
  • John Edwards looks to be finding his groove after returning to the Atlantic Championship.
  • I’m surprised to only see 12 entries in the first official test, but insider’s are forecasting about 17-18 cars in the field for Sebring. Let’s hope for more.
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