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Atlantic champion to win $1m.


This year's Atlantic Championship will offer a $1m prize to the overall champion as part of revamped $3m total purse following a change of ownership, it has been revealed.

Last year, the championship offered $1.6m in prize money, with $300,000 going to eventual series champion Markus Niemela. Having nearly double the amount of prize money available in 2009 is anticipated to be a major incentive to help Atlantic teams recruit drivers in a tough market.

The $1m champion's prize is the most lucrative in a North American open-wheel driver development series, while the eventual runner-up will receive $500,000, with the remaining $1.5 million to be paid out in per-event race purses.

“This is a significant prize package that should attract top drivers from all over the world to the Atlantic Championship this season,” new series president Ben Johnston claimed, “The $1m champion's prize is not a scholarship, it is $1m in cold hard cash that the champion may use in whatever way he or she sees fit. Likewise, the $500,000 prize for the driver who finishes second in the championship far exceeds what most other driver development series pay out to their champions, while the $1.5 million in per-race purses makes every race an opportunity for the drivers to win big money.”

Johnston's assertion that the champion's prize may be used how the driver sees fit is a veiled criticism of the reward in place before he took control of the series, when Champ Car insisted that the multi-million dollar prize it offered had to be used to graduate to the CCWS, even though it frequently fell short of securing the champion a seat. The 2007 champion, Rafael Matos, eschewed the money to join AGR/AFS in the Firestone Indy Lights series after being unable to complete a deal in Champ Car.


“I was one of the few ready to go before the prize money was announced, but to hear that the champion will get a million dollars and second place $500,000 is a huge bonus," Newman Wachs driver John Edwards admitted, "It is pretty rare and I think will attract even more drivers. Most series don't offer anything to anyone outside of the champion, and I think this is just one more reason why the Atlantic Championship is the top series in junior open-wheel [racing].”

In addition to the $3m prize package, bonus and contingency prizes will continue to be offered, including the $1000 Cooper Tire Pole Award for the fastest qualifier at each race. The competition has been a mainstay in the Atlantic Championship since Cooper joined the series as presenting sponsor and official tyre in 2007, and has provided a valuable top up to funds for several drivers.


"This is an exciting day for the Atlantic Championship," director of motorsports for Cooper Tire, Chris Pantani, commented, "The $1m prize is an extremely attractive award for a premier open-wheel development series, and the reality of it is that a young driver will actually walk away with a check for $1m as a series champion."

The announcement has attracted positive reaction from those involved in the series, with Condor Motorsports' owner Carlos Bobeda echoing the sentiments of the majority of his peers.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Simona de Silvestro - Newman Wachs Racing   [pic credit: Atlantic Championship/Phil Sedgwick]
Helio Castroneves celebrates after winning the pole position and displays the pole prize cheque for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on March 31 2012. [Photo Credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA (c) 2012, Michael L. Levitt. LAT Photo USA]
Scott Dixon receives the prize for pole position in the final Indy Japan at Motegi. [Photo credit: LAT Photo USA for IndyCar Media]
A unique New England prize for winner Ryan Hunter-Reay after winning the MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. August 2011. [Photo Credit: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media]
Simona de Silvestro - Team Stargate Worlds
Jonathan Summerton - Newman Wachs Racing   [pic credit: Atlantic Championship/Phil Sedgwick]
Carl Skerlong - Pacific Coast Motorsports   [pic credit: Atlantic Championship/Phil Sedgwick]
Carl Skerlong - Pacific Coast Motorsports   [pic credit: Atlantic Championship/Phil Sedgwick]
Jonathan Summerton - Newman Wachs Racing   [pic credit: Atlantic Championship/Phil Sedgwick]
Jonathan Summerton - Newman Wachs Racing   [pic credit: Atlantic Championship/Phil Sedgwick]
Kevin Lacroix - Walker Racing   [pic credit: Atlantic Championship/Phil Sedgwick]
Greg Mansell - Walker Racing   [pic credit: Atlantic Championship/Phil Sedgwick]
Leo Mansell - Walker Racing   [pic credit: Atlantic Championship/Phil Sedgwick]
Daniel Morad - Eurointernational   [pic credit: Atlantic Championship/Phil Sedgwick]
Dane Cameron - Genoa Racing   [pic credit: Atlantic Championship/Phil Sedgwick]
James Hinchcliffe - Forsythe/Pettit Racing   [pic credit: Atlantic Championship/Phil Sedgwick]
James Hinchcliffe - Forsythe/Pettit Racing   [pic credit: Atlantic Championship/Phil Sedgwick]
James Hinchcliffe - Forsythe/Pettit Racing   [pic credit: Atlantic Championship/Phil Sedgwick]

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