Bomarito and Mansell Set for Return to Atlantic Championship
BROWNSBURG, September 21, 2009: A pair of familiar faces will return to the Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda paddock at this week’s penultimate round of the 12-race 2009 championship as Jonathan Bomarito and Greg Mansell will compete in Friday’s race at Road Atlanta.
A five-time Atlantic Championship race-winner, the 27-year-old Bomarito will drive the No. 77 Stargate Worlds/Maakoa/Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment/FireSky/Cardinal Technologies machine for Team Stargate Worlds alongside points leader Simona De Silvestro, who drives the team’s No. 78 entry. It will be Bomarito’s first Atlantic start since the 2009 season-opener at Sebring and will be the 44th start of his Atlantic career overall. In addition to this week’s race at Road Atlanta, Bomarito will also drive the No. 77 car in the season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in his hometown of Monterey, Calif.
“I’m real excited about getting back in an Atlantic car,” Bomarito said. “I’m very grateful for the opportunity to be teaming with such a great team and a talented teammate in Simona. The Team Stargate Worlds crew was very welcoming when I met them and I’m looking forward to having a very strong weekend at Road Atlanta this weekend, and at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.“
Bomarito is filling in for Frankie Muniz in the No. 77 entry. Muniz underwent season-ending wrist surgery last month after competing in the first nine rounds of the season. In his third year of Atlantic Championship competition, Muniz earned top-10 results in all of his starts and earned a career-best result of fourth in Round 2 at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah in May.
“We are extremely pleased to have Jonathan on board,” said team principals Imran Safiulla and Shane Seneviratne in a joint statement. “He is an extremely talented driver and a proven winner. It’s unfortunate that the opportunity has risen due to Frankie’s injury. He was having a strong season. Having said that, we couldn’t have found a better man to step up for him. We look forward to having a good run with Jonathan and having his support in our quest for the championship.”
Mansell, meanwhile, is returning to Atlantic competition for the first time since the 2008 season finale at Road Atlanta and will drive the No. 18 Genoa Racing entry. The 21-year-old son of 1992 Formula 1 World Champion and 1993 IndyCar World Series champion Nigel Mansell competed full time in the 2008 Atlantic Championship with Walker Racing and earned the best result of his Atlantic career with a fifth-place run at Road Atlanta last year. Mansell competed in World Series by Renault events earlier this year and recently competed in the 1000 km of Silverstone Le Mans Series race alongside his father and U.K. driver Lawrence Tomlinson.
He joins a Genoa Racing team that has three cars entered for Friday’s race at Road Atlanta, with Rookie of the Year points leader Frederic Vervisch in the team’s No. 17 Quartier/Isomo/Shinokki machine and English rookie James Winslow slated to drive the No. 19 C.A.R.S./E.T.T./D.H.S. entry. Thus far in 2009, Genoa has fielded Atlantic cars for Jonathan Summerton, Tonis Kasemets and Robert Wickens in addition to the aforementioned racers.
“We had a productive and good test with Greg at Gingerman (last week) and we expect he’ll be running very competitively at Road Atlanta,” said Genoa Racing team manager Thomas Knapp. “He’ll be a welcome addition to the championship and we’re happy to have him.”
Next up for the 2009 Atlantic Championship is the penultimate round of the 12-race season this Friday, September 25 at Road Atlanta as part of the festivities at the 12th annual Petit Le Mans powered by MAZDA6 for the American Le Mans Series. De Silvestro currently leads the championship standings by eight points, 160-152, over John Edwards with Summerton just 12 points out of the lead in third.