Junior Open Wheel Talent

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Archive for the ‘ Atlantic Championship ’ Category

For those missing the Atlantic Championship cars, all is not lost. Not completely.

The Atlantic Championship Series will be launched in 2012 by Formula Race Promotions with sanctioning from SCCA Pro Racing. The new series will be open to SCCA-legal Formula Atlantic cars and will run a six-race championship with stops at Road Atlanta, New Jersey Motorsports Park, and Summit Point.

2012 Atlantic Championship Schedule

  • May 10-12 Road Atlanta
  • June 29-July 1 NJMP
  • August 24-26 Summit Point
The Series will run in conjunction with the F1600 Formula F and F2000 Championship Series in 2012. Read the full release here.

For up-to-date news and views on karting and junior formula racing follow @JOWT on Twitteror follow on Facebook.
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I’m sad to report that the 2010 Atlantic Championship season has been cancelled.  Ben Johnston, owner of the Atlantic Championship, and his crew took all the right steps (with a few exceptions) over the last few months… unfortunately, it was just too little, too late.  You have to give them credit for sticking with a sinking ship right until the end though.  They certainly put forth the effort.

The Atlantic Championship was poised to celebrate its 37th anniversary this season.  It was the longest running junior formula series in North American history.  Unfortunately, due to economic woes and some additional issues, it has faced an untimely demise.

Immediately following the release of the article on Auto123 (linked above), I sent an email out to my contacts within the Atlantic Championship.  Their failure to confirm or deny the allegations basically validated the inevitable.  **Update** Here is the Atlantic Release.

There are a lot of people ready to point fingers at this point… which is the easy thing to do.  Unfortunately, doing so won’t change anything for the better.  At this point, it’s simply time to move on and hope for a brighter future.

The mysterious insider who released the story to Auto123’s René Fagnan is quoted in saying, “We’re taking 2010 off to seriously rethink the series.  Mr. Johnston is seriously thinking about relaunching the series in 2011, and even to stage a short and affordable “Winter Series” at one point.”.

I guess they’re emphasizing the word “seriously“.

I’m not sure how serious you want to take them at this point, but I for one certainly hope this isn’t the end for the Atlantic Championship.  The storied history and the number of talented pilots who have participated in this series is perhaps the only solace for now.

[Continue Reading…]

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Video of the Day

Posted February 25, 2010 at 11:25 am Atlantic Championship, video Comments

For those that have been waiting to see 15-year-old Zach Veach behind-the-wheel of an Atlantic Championship racecar, here is your chance.

The following video features onboard footage of Zach Veach testing with Jensen Motorsport.

I’m not sure how recent this footage is, or what the conditions were like during the test… so it’s difficult to provide much insight into his driving technique.  He does a nice job looking through the turns and keeping his eyes ahead of the car.  I would say that he appears a bit reserved (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing during a test day).  He’s lacking entry and mid-corner speed but seems to be adapting to the power of the car quite nicely on exit.  The ability to carry more momentum into– and through— the corner will come with additional seat time.   I’m looking forward to watching more footage and keeping an eye on his progress this season.

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The Atlantic Championship announced their 2010 prize fund today featuring a race-to-race payout—which will be made directly to the drivers— through the top-ten places.  The top-three will receive $15,000, $10,000 and $7,500 in prize money respectively.  You can read the full press release here.

Related Reading:

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Atlantic Championship Offers a Fixed-Budget

Posted February 9, 2010 at 11:35 am Atlantic Championship Comments

I’m sure most of you have already heard the news about the Atlantic Championship offering a fixed-budget of $495,000 for 2010.  In addition to the reduced budget offering they have also come up with a slogan to help separate themselves from the IRL’s Road-to-Indy program.  The Atlantic Championship is now unofficially the Road-to-F1.

I decided to hold off on this story for a few days as I wanted to let the dust settle and take everything in before posting.  There are still quite a few unanswered questions, but if you look at the big picture this is really a pretty exciting announcement.

The series’ administrators are taking all the right steps to ensure a future for the longest running junior formula series in North American history.  They are aware of the current economic situation and have adjusted their budget accordingly. They are in the process of aligning themselves with some of the European junior formula series, thus legitimizing their claim to be a Road-to-F1.  In addition to the aforementioned announcements, they are also working with a marketing team; Theory Communication and Design.

Now, before we go any farther, I know that a lot of you are still stuck on the million dollar prize debacle, and rightfully so, but perhaps for the good of our sport we need to look to the future.  If you make a prize fund announcement and fail to follow through… it’s  going to upset a lot of people.  That goes without saying.  You have to assume that Ben Johnston (President of the Atlantic Championship) will do everything within his power to make things financially right.  The easy thing to do would have been to roll over, claim bankruptcy, and call it an unsuccessful business venture.  Ben didn’t do that.  He’s working hard along with a small Atlantic Championship staff to try and make things right.  The group has a long road ahead but they are determined to keep moving forward regardless of how steep the grade in front of them is.

The biggest issue I have with the whole prize fund controversy is that they didn’t just come out and make a statement similar to mine above.  Everybody already knew the situation and simply addressing it publicly might have gone a long ways for them.

What’s done is done.  Will their new marketing plan work?  Will the series rebound?  Or is it just too little, too late?  Time will tell.  The first Atlantic Championship race is 37 days away.

I’ve received a fair amount of questions from readers about the fixed-budget for 2010.  I didn’t have all the answers, so I decided to pass on a few of the main concerns to David Bowes at the Atlantic Championship.
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JOWT: Will the $495,000 include crash damage and testing?

DB: The fixed budget includes eight days of testing which will be the same for everyone. It also includes tires, fuel, engine lease, entry fees and “normal” crash damage. We are arranging insurance for “abnormal” damage which should not be an issue. The only cost in addition is travel and accommodation for drivers.

JOWT: How will you match drivers/teams if they sign up through the series?

DB: Drivers will be allocated to teams on a first come first served basis. Teams are allowed to find drivers but the drivers have to go through the Series to sign up and contract for the season. Every driver will pay the same amount to the Series ($495,000). The Series will then contract separately with teams to ensure that every driver gets the same level of service, resource and equipment. No team will be allowed to exceed the resource allocation and neither will they be allowed to fall below it. That way we can ensure parity for all drivers.
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I also asked for the cost of a one-off drive in the Atlantic Championship.  Unfortunately that figure hasn’t been put in place yet.  Stay tuned for more in the coming month.  Many questions remain.  As always, I welcome your questions and comments.

It will be interesting to see what generates from this new plan.

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Atlantic Championship to Reschedule Test

Posted January 18, 2010 at 3:55 pm Atlantic Championship, Test Comments

The Atlantic Championship plans to reschedule the preseason test for early March.  Watch for a venue and date to be set shortly.

Related ReadingAtlantic Championship: Sebring Test Cancelled

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Unfortunately, the Atlantic Championship has cancelled the first official test of the 2010 season.  The test was scheduled to take place January 22-24, 2010 at Sebring International Raceway.

Earlier today, I wrote:

Considering the time of year, the economic climate and the long drive to Sebring  (for most teams)… the series may have been better off to schedule this test a little closer to the season opener on March 19th.  Stay tuned for future attendance updates.

Perhaps the test will be rescheduled.  Stay tuned.

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Zach Veach

Zach Veach, who will be the youngest competitor in the 37-year-history of the Atlantic Championship (at age 15), continues to prepare for the 2010 season under the guidance of Jensen Motorsport team owner Eric Jensen.

The team completed a test at Buttonwillow early this week and and they also plan to attend the upcoming test at Sebring International Raceway (January 23-24, 2010).

Inside sources are reporting that about 8-10 cars will be in attendance for the first official test of the 2010 season.  To me, that number seems a bit high.  Jensen Motorsport is the first team to send me any sort of attendance confirmation.  Considering the time of year, the economic climate and the long drive to Sebring  (for most teams)… the series may have been better off to schedule this test a little closer to the season opener on March 19th.  Stay tuned for future attendance updates.

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Adam Christodoulou, who won the 2009 Star Mazda Championship, had the opportunity to sample an Atlantic Championship car this week at Buttonwillow with Team Stargate Worlds.

Christodoulou, 20, completed nearly 400 miles during the two-day test.  It was his first time in an Atlantic Championship car.

Adam hasn’t announced any plans for 2010, but his prize for winning the Star Mazda Championship is a fully-funded ride in the Atlantic Championship courtesy of the MazdaSPEED Driver Development program.  He plans to get back behind the wheel of an Atlantic car next month— at Sebring International Raceway— for the first Official test of the 2010 season.

Christodoulou won the 2008 UK Formula Renault 2.0 championship before coming to the United States to compete in Star Mazda.  Last season, in Star Mazda competition, he had 3 wins, 9 podiums and 2 pole positions in 13-starts.

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Zach Veach Signs with Jensen Motorsport

Posted December 11, 2009 at 2:52 pm Atlantic Championship, Signing Comments

Zach Veach

Zach Veach

Zach Veach is poised to become the youngest driver in the 37-year history of the Atlantic Championship as he signed with Jensen Motorsport earlier today at a mere 15 years of age to compete in the 2010 Atlantic Championship.  The contract is a two-year deal.

Originally, he was planning an assault on the Formula BMW-Americas in 2010, but, after the program folded, he decided to pursue other options.  He spent the 2009 season testing a Formula BMW car and karting.

Personally, I haven’t seen Veach drive so I don’t have much to offer here… but the fact that he’s essentially going from karting straight to the Atlantic Championship is mind-boggling.  It sort of brings me back to my post earlier today about drivers being rushed into cars.

What do you think?  Feel free to add your opinion via the comment section.

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