After helping steer a pair of talented young drivers toward the Champ Car World Series over the past two seasons, Brooks Associates Racing have announced that is has signed another racer with a promising future for the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Championship.

Venezuelan driver Luis Schiavo will drive for the veteran Atlantic Brooks squad this season, occupying the first seat in what's expected to be a two-car, full season effort for the team that finished sixth and seventh in the final 2005 Atlantic standings.

Schiavo has spent the last several seasons racing in the Star Mazda Pro Series, including an impressive championship run to claim the 2003 Star Mazda title. The 24 year-old native of Caracas, Venezuela earned several Champ Car test sessions last season with Dale Coyne Racing and he certainly has his eyes set on competing in Champ Car. He believes a strong season in Atlantics, Champ Car's top developmental category, will help prepare him to compete at the next level.

"With three years in the Mazda series, we were able to consistently set track records, be on the pole and win," said Schiavo. "Atlantic is the logical next step for me and I'm looking forward to working with (team owner) John (Brooks) and the Brooks Associates Racing team this season. It's a great opportunity that I intend to take full advantage of and thanks to my sponsor, Energy Freight."

Following a successful international karting career, Schiavo came to the U.S. in the late 90s and entered the Skip Barber racing programme. He moved over to Star Mazda and also has U.S. F2000 experience. He captured the '03 Star Mazda crown behind four wins and five poles and he followed that up with a fifth-place finish in the championship the following season. Schiavo was running fourth in the series title chase last season when he got the opportunity to test for Dale Coyne and he then decided to dedicate all of his efforts to finding a path to Champ Car. Schiavo performed well in eight total test days for the Coyne team and he looked strong this week in his first test session for the Brooks squad.

"We're very excited about Luis joining the team," said Brooks, who was named Atlantic Team Owner of the Year in 2005. "We're finalising a deal with our second driver and I've been quite impressed to see the field of new, young drivers interested in our series. We've also strengthened the depth of the team with our newest engineer, Bryan Jones, and returning lead mechanic, Duarte Fidalgo, and look forward to being in the hunt for the championship."

Brooks Associates Racing, entering its 12th season in Atlantics, has emerged as one of the top squads in the series over the last several seasons. Current Champ Car driver Ronnie Bremer began his Atlantic career with the team in 2004 and last season Germany's Andreas Wirth gave the team its first victory, winning in Denver to move into second place in the championship before a warm-up accident at Road America in the second-to-last race of the year ended his title quest.

Anxious to get Schiavo more seat time in preparation for what promises to be a challenging season in '06, the Brooks team doesn't expect to attend the Official Unveiling of the new generation Atlantic car on February 14 at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles because the team will be on track testing its new driver.

"We've had testing scheduled for weeks and while we'll miss being at the formal unveiling of the new car," explained Brooks, "we look forward to seeing everyone at the Fontana open test (March 21-22) prior to the first race of the season in Long Beach (April 9)."

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