For better or worse, open-wheel racing in America is nowhere near as popular – among drivers or fans – as stock-car racing. The IndyCar Series is still struggling to regain the standing it enjoyed before it split and then rejoined. Efforts to launch an American team in Formula One have floundered. The United States Grand Prix has bounced on and off the grid and to a number of locations. America hasn't sent one of its own drivers into F1 since Scott Speed, and it hasn't sent a successful one since Mario Andretti. Even the Indianapolis 500 hasn't been won by an American in over seven years.

That could come down in part to a lack of effective feeder series of aspiring open-wheel racers in America, but Formula Race Promotions is out to fix that. The organizing body runs the F1600 and F2000 series, and is now gearing up to relaunch the Atlantic Championship next year.

The Atlantic Championship, for those unacquainted, is one of the feeder series that sent new talent up into the IndyCar and even F1 ranks. Michael Andretti, both Gilles and Jacques Villeneuve, Danica Patrick, Alex Tagliani, Dan Wheldon and Ryan Hunter-Reay (to name just a few) all started out in Atlantics. But after changing names and formats several times over the years, the Atlantic Championship ceased operations in 2009.

Formula Race Promotions ran six exhibition races over three weekends last year and took this year to retool, but it's now ready to launch a full ten-round season for 2014. It's lined up Hoosier to provide the control tires and promises to provide up-and-coming drivers with a lot of track time and reasonable costs. The series will run alongside the F1600 and F2000 series, but only time will tell if it proves more suitable to fostering American racing talent than the IndyLights or Pro Mazda Championship. For more details, check out the official press release below.
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Atlantic Championship Series Rolls for 2014

The Atlantic Championship Series returns for 2014. (photo: Dennis Valet)Sharon, CT – Formula Race Promotions today confirmed that the Atlantic Championship Series will race in 2014, as the Series will expand to include five full event weekends with two races each, comprising a 10-round Championship calendar presented by Hoosier Racing Tire.

Formula Race Promotions operated the Atlantic campaign in 2012, running an exhibition season with three race weekends and six rounds. A hiatus year was taken in 2013 to formulate an expanded operation, and a schedule including top race tracks in the country is nearing completion with dates at Watkins Glen, Road Atlanta, Virginia International Raceway and more already booked.

"The enthusiasm I experienced last weekend from the Atlantic entrants at the 50th Anniversary SCCA Runoffs at Road America convinced me that the time is right to present the racers, teams and fans an expanded season for this iconic class of spectacular cars in 2014," said Series Managing Director Michael Rand. "An exciting season of one double-race weekend per month starting in April and winding up on Labor Day weekend at great race tracks holds great promise for all."

While other forms of the pro class have focused on a spec chassis, Formula Race Promotions will, like in 2012, allow all Atlantic cars a level playing field.

Fans can look forward to seeing and hearing the likes of Swift 014/Toyotas going up against the current generation Swift 016/Mazdas, and the occasional Ralt RT40 or RT41 challenging at the front of the field.

In 2012, David Grant cruised to the title for Polestar Racing Group, winning four of six races in his Swift 014. Grant moved laterally in 2013, racing in the F2000 Series, and even making a pair of F1600 starts, with two second place finishes.

The Atlantic cars will join the F2000 and F1600 Series on all their race weekends in 2014.

Similar to the business model behind F2000 and F1600, Atlantic drivers and teams can expect hefty amounts of track time, reasonable entry and registration costs, a controlled spec tire from Hoosier, and a dedicated and hard-working Series staff at every event.

The full F2000, F1600 and Atlantic schedule will be released shortly.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 1 Year Ago
      CART was great racing. At one time it was just about as exciting as F1 with great cars to match, but then all hell broke loose and it all came crashing down. What a shame.
      Cool Disco Dan
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think people would like open wheel if it was actually promoted in America. Same with other sports car racing. The problem is that NASCAR is dominate because it is "Americas" racing and has been packaged to appeal to the lowest common denominator with emphasis on the driver and sponsors over the actual racing, And the actual racing isn't exactly entertaining to watch often times being boring. And don't think I'm bashing the roundy round racing. I appreciate the tuning and strategy involved in winning but not to many NASCAR watchers are looking at the nuance they are looking for the "big one". Package open wheel road racing the same way and I think you could surpass NASCAR simply because of the excitement of passing.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Cool Disco Dan
        I think a lot of it is the old "chicken or the egg" situation...does no one follow open-wheel racing because it's not promoted heavily, or is it not promoted heavily because no one follows it? I think a case could be made for both. The thing I think that makes NASCAR so big in America is that it generally takes place in a huge stadium of some sort, you go there, and you can pretty much see the entire track from any seat in the house. Whereas with road courses, you generally have to pick a spot, and can see two or three corners (maybe 20 or 30% of the track) if you're lucky. I think the stadium mentality appeals a lot more to most's convenient for the fans and convenient for the sponsors. I'm not sure I buy the argument that open wheel road racing has more passing than totally depends on the venue. I've seen races in both NASCAR and F1 for example that have had lead/position changes seemingly on every lap, and there have been others that have been basically a procession from green lights to checkered flag. The two forms of racing generally apply to two different mentalities, and honestly I don't know that there's really much that can be done to change that.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Open wheel racers will not come from America until karting becomes a thing here. Karting tracks are small and running certain types of karts can be very cheap. Unfortunately, karting tracks are almost non-existent in our country and where it does there is little in the way of cost control - a problem that European Karting is experiencing. Get cheap karts, cheap Formula Ford, cheap Formula with downforce, Atlantic and Star Mazda and you'll have something. Unfortunately, none of these things are cheap which means that the vast majority of people with talent won't be able to afford it.
        El Matador
        • 1 Year Ago
        I have been racing karts on and off for 35 years. I think the problem is cost as you mention, but also perception. When I was racing in Mexico, karts were considered as race cars, and the racers were considered racecar drivers. The races used to be on TV, the sports shows will have segments about karting and all the newspapers would have the results. Here in the US while there are many more kartracers, karting is considered as a hobby, along the lines of coin collecting. Cost is not that different from Europe. There are many very competitive spec classes. But if you want to race a top level national series, be ready to spend more than $40,000 / year. Then you have a HUGHE jump in cost. Formula Mazda can be $400,000 / year, Atlantic is about $700,000 / year. And with the lack or real sponsors, you better have a rich dad to pay for that. I think the problem is the lack of a competitive and cost effective ladder system.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Good to see Formula Atlantic back. Unfortunately re F1 that series has blinkers on and largely looks ONLY at European feeder series for their developing drivers Also unfortunately no series has a lock on "the best drivers in the world" these days. Some go to Nascar, a few go to Indycar and some go to sports cars and some go to F1.
      Mr Sled
      • 1 Year Ago
      The max speeds have been reached at Indianapolis. The best drivers in the world no longer all converge from all corners of racing to compete in the Indy 500. Racing costs a lot of money. Raising kids in go-carts costs a lot of money. Football pads and cleats cost far less. Atlantics arent cheap, but it's a step in the right direction.
      • 1 Year Ago