They're a bunch of tough guys over at the Atlantic Championship. They must be, because they keep on getting hit with what to anyone else would be major setbacks, and yet they keep on racing. At the end of last season, the Champ Car junior series got a big ol' slap in the face when champion Raphael Matos turned down the $2 million prize and jumped ship. Then the series to which the Atlantic Championship was attached shut down, leaving the feeder series with nowhere specific to feed into. The merger also leaves the Atlantic series – whose ranks have included such names as Michael Andretti, Paul Tracy, Danica Patrick and both Gilles and Jacques Villeneuve – with no sanctioning body to govern its races. No worries, though, as the series officials have released the new season calendar for 2008, starting in just a couple of weeks.
The Mazda-powered Swift 016 racers will kick off the new season in support of the Toyota Grand of Long Beach where the migrant Champ Car teams will compete on their old equipment while the returning IRL teams head to Japan. The rest of the races are likewise attached to larger events, running at such well-known American tracks as Laguna Seca, Road America and Road Atlanta, as well as tracks in New Jersey and Utah, plus four races in Canada. Follow the jump for the full race season schedule.
2008 ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
April 20: Long Beach, California (with Champ Car)
May 18: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (Grand-Am Rolex Series)
June 29: Circuit Mont-Tremblant (Sommet des Legends historic event)
July 25 and 26 (two races): Edmonton, Alberta (IndyCar Series)
Aug. 9 and 10 (two races): Road America (American Le Mans Series)
Aug. 17: Trois-Rivieres, Quebec
Sept. 14: New Jersey Motorsports Park (Mazdaspeed Motorsports Development Ladder)
Sept. 21: Miller Motorsports Park (Grand-Am Rolex Series)
Oct. 4: Road Atlanta (American Le Mans Series)