CONDOR MOTORSPORTS ADDS FRENCH PHENOM FRANCK PERERA TO ATLANTIC DRIVER LINEUP FOR 2007
INDIANAPOLIS (March 15, 2007) – His first time competing in a Champ Car Atlantic machine was magical. Now, Franck Perera will get a chance to make magic all season long with Condor Motorsports.
Perera, a 22-year-old native of Montpellier, France, has reached a contract agreement to compete with the Condor team in the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda. The announcement comes on the heels of Perera’s dynamic Atlantic debut last week at Champ Car Spring Training in Monterey, California, and it immediately makes the talented racer a top contender for this season’s series title.
In his maiden voyage in the 300-horsepower Mazda-Cosworth/Swift Atlantic on Cooper Tires Perera demonstrated an uncanny ability to clock consistently fast times and blazing speed on the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca track. The fab Frenchman paced all four testing sessions (two on each day of the test) and unofficially shattered the series track record several times at the 2.238-mile circuit before finally posting a final quick lap of 1:16.067 (105.917 mph) while testing for the Condor team.
“We’re all very excited and happy to welcome Franck to the team,” said Carlos Bobeda, owner of Condor Motorsports, which captured the 2005 Champ Car Atlantic Championship with Dutchman and eventual Champ Car driver Charles Zwolsman. “He is clearly a very special talent and the team developed good chemistry with him from the first minute he got into the car. I think everyone is looking forward to a very exciting 2007 season.”
Perera has established himself in European competition and now he’s looking to rise to the top level of American open-wheel racing through his accomplishments in the Atlantic series. He won the Formula Renault Italian chanmpionship in 2003 and earned top rookie honors in the F3 Euro Series a year later. After finishing fourth in the F3 Euro Series in 2005, Perera joined the GP2 Championship last season. While watching his countryman, Sebastien Bourdais, win three consecutive Champ Car World Series titles, Perera began to turn his focus toward racing in North America. He hopes to follow in the footsteps of defending Atlantic champion and fellow Frenchman Simon Pagenaud, who graduated to the Champ Car World Series with Team Australia in ’07 after claiming the crown and the impressive $2 million Atlantic champion’s bonus.
“I am first of all delighted to be able to continue expand my racing career in the USA in the very competitive Champ Car Atlantic series,” said Perera, who will race the #11 car sponsored by CJ Motorsport for the Condor team this season. “Atlantics is the only championship in the world which offers such unique prize money with direct access into Champ Car. I am proud to join Condor Motorsports, who put together a great car for me in the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca testing days and allowed me to be immediately competitive in the sessions. I can’t wait to start the series and hopefully help Carlos and the team get their crown back. I would also like to thank CJ Motorsport, who believes in my potential and has allowed me to continue to follow my dream.”
Perera will make his official Atlantic debut at the 2007 season opener, April 6-8 at the inaugural Vegas Grand Prix on the downtown streets of Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Champ Car Atlantic Championship continues to be the premier open-wheel development series in North America. Preparing for its 34th season in 2007, the championship is noted for its long history of graduating its stars into Champ Car competition and has helped produce past Champ Car champions Paul Tracy, Jimmy Vasser, Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan, Michael Andretti and Jacques Villeneuve. Recent Champ Car competitors Alex Tagliani, Andrew Ranger, Katherine Legge, Tonis Kasemets, Andreas Wirth, David Martinez and 2005 Atlantic champion Charles Zwolsman are established Atlantic graduates along with 2003 Atlantic champ A.J. Allmendinger and reigning series champion Simon Pagenaud, who joins Champ Car in 2007. Atlantic graduates have also won the Indianapolis 500 for the last three consecutive years. Competing in Swift 016.a chassis powered by a 2.3-liter Mazda-Cosworth engine while riding on Cooper Tires, 2007 competitors will fight for the 12-race championship and the unique $2 million Champ Car series champion’s bonus. For more information on the series and to view last season’s races on demand, please visit www.champcaratlantic.com.