IndyCar »

Niemela completes 'strongest' NWR FA team.


Newman Wachs Racing believes that it will enter the richest Atlantic Championship Series ever with the strongest line-up of the modern Swift 016 era, having signed reigning champion Markus Niemela to join Star Mazda titlewinner John Edwards for 2009.

Regardless of its standing in the pantheon of Atlantic entries, however, the two-car effort is the strongest NWR has had in its short history, despite having fielded drivers such as racewinners Simona de Silvestro, Tonis Kasemets, JR Hildebrand and rapidly rising star Jonathan Summerton in previous seasons. The team has one pole, three victories and seven podiums in its three-year spell in the Atlantic series, and has been a frontrunner since its formation.

Niemela is the first driver to return to defend his title with a full-time effort since Lee Bentham, who won the 1998 title and finished sixth in the 1999 championship, and will carry the #1 plate on his Mr Jones/ Nuclear Clean Air Energy/Entergy Swift. The Finn returns with momentum too, having closed out the 2008 campaign with a win at the Road Atlanta finale.

“First of all, I would like to say that I am extremely excited for this season," insisted Niemela, whose title opened testing doors in Indy Lights, GP2 and the DTM over the off-season, "This is the first time that I have competed in the same series for more than one year since karting, and I was looking at other options after I won the championship last year, but when Ben Johnston announced the new prize money structure, it made sense to do it again.

"Newman Wachs Racing was my first choice for a new team and I am very happy to be here. It took a while to get things together, but I am very relieved and now ready to focus on what is ahead and get some good results.”

Team owner Eddie Wachs, who formed the development squad with the late Paul Newman ahead of the 2006 season, admitted that he was delighted to have snared a driver of Niemela's quality to pair with the already-confirmed Edwards.

“I am pleased that we will not have to race against Markus this year," he smiled, "He is a fierce competitor and is a welcomed asset to our team.

"We had our most successful season last year to date, and I am secure in saying 2009 will be even better. With Markus and John as team-mates, I think they can both benefit and get the most out of each other. It's been a long winter and I'm sure I speak for the rest of the Atlantic family when I say, 'let's get this going'.”


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Markus Niemela - Brooks Associates Racing   [pic credit: Atlantic Championship/Phil Sedgwick]
Newman/Haas/Lanigan team mates James Hinchcliffe and Oriol Servia in Baltimore. [Picture credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates after winning the MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. August 2011. [Photo Credit: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media]
James Hinchliffe on track at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. August 2011. [Photo credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Canadian local hero James Hinchciffe an unsurprising favourite with the press and media at Edmonton. [Photo credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
James Hinchcliffe in pit lane before heading out onto the streets of Toronto. July 2011. [Picture credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Oriol Servia, who claimed third place on the grid for the 2011 Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during Pole Day on Saturday, May 21. [Picture credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
James Hinchcliffe (CAN - Newman/Haas Racing) relaxed with his team during the Rookie Orientation Program at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Thursday, May 12 [Photo by Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
3-4 September, 2010, Sparta, Kentucky USA
#06 Newman Haas Racing`s Hideki Mutoh pitstop.
6-8 August, 2010. Lexington, Ohio
#06 Formula Dream/Panasonic Newman Haas Racing`s Hideki Mutoh and Graham Rahal.
6-8 August, 2010. Lexington, Ohio
#02 National Tire & Battery Newman Haas Racing`s Graham Rahal off course.
6-8 August, 2010. Lexington, Ohio
#02 National Tire & Battery Newman Haas Racing`s Graham Rahal.
6-8 August, 2010. Lexington, Ohio
#02 National Tire & Battery Newman Haas Racing`s Graham Rahal and dad, Bobby.
6-8 August, 2010. Lexington, Ohio
#06 Formula Dream/Panasonic Newman Haas Racing`s Hideki Mutoh.
6-8 August, 2010. Lexington, Ohio
#02 National Tire & Battery Newman Haas Racing`s Graham Rahal.
16-18 July, 2010, Toronto, Ontario CA
#02 Newman Haas Racing Quick Trim`s Graham Rahal pitstop.
16-18 July, 2010, Toronto, Ontario CA
#06 Formula Dream/Panasonic Newman Haas Racing`s Hideki Mutoh pitstop.
16-18 July, 2010, Toronto, Ontario CA
#02 Newman Haas Racing Quick Trim`s Graham Rahal heading down front straight.

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2016 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.