In one form or another, there has been a professional Formula Atlantic series in North America since 1974. In 2008, the International Motor Sports Association sanctioned the Cooper Tires Present The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda. The series was also part of the Mazdaspeed Motorsports Development Ladder, which included the Star Mazda Championship, Skip Barber series and Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup. Series graduates include Michael Andretti, Geoff Brabham, Elliott Forbes-Robinson, Tom Gloy, Katherine Legge, Simon Pagenaud, Bobby Rahal, Keke Rosberg, Paul Tracy, Al Unser Jr., Gilles Villeneuve, Jacques Villeneuve (brother of Gilles), Jacques Villeneuve (son of Gilles) and Dan Wheldon.

This modern-day series utilizes the Swift 016.a Formula Atlantic chassis. Swift Engineering introduced this model in 2006. The cars are powered by a 2.3-liter DOHC four-cylinder Mazda Cosworth MZR engine, which produces 300-horsepower. The transmission is a Swift/Hewland sequential shift with five forward speeds and a single reverse gear. Finally, Cooper tires are mounted on 15”X10” front and 15”X14” rear wheels.

The 2008 eleven-race championship kicks off in April at Long Beach, California and ends at Road Atlanta in earl October.

  • April 20 - Long Beach Grand Prix
  • May 18 - Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
  • June 29 - Circuit Mont-Tremblant
  • July 25 - Edmonton Indy
  • July 26 - Edmonton Indy
  • August 9 - Road America
  • August 10 - Road America
  • August 17 - Circuit Trois-Rivières
  • September 14 - New Jersey Motorsports Park
  • September 21 - Miller Motorsports Park
  • October 3 - Road Atlanta

Round eight of the 2008 Cooper Tires Presents the Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda was conducted during the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. Drivers would compete on the eleven-turn 1.53-mile temporary street circuit.

As the 2008 Atlantic series was nearing the end of the season, there were three title contenders within seven markers of each other. At the top of the standings was Jonathan Bomarito, followed by James Hinchcliffe and Markus Niemela. At Trois-Rivieres, Bomarito put the No. 26 Mathiasen Motorsports Swift 016.a on the pole and led flag-to-flag. Problems for Hinchcliffe and Niemela increased his points lead.
Finishing in the runner-up position at Trois-Rivieres was the rookie Jonathan Summerton. Summerton, driving the No. 36 Newman Wachs Racing Swift 016.a, had victories at Edmonton and Road America. He started second and would finish 1.590 seconds behind the winner, Jonathan Bomarito. These results and the issues encountered by Hinchcliffe and Niemela moved Summerton to second in the standings.
Holland's Junior Strous drove the No. 6 Condor Motorsports Swift 016.a. Entering round eight, Strous scored two podium results early in the year, one of which was a victory at Mont-Tremblant. He was the eighth fastest in the qualifying session at Trois-Rivieres. In the race, Strous passed Dane Cameron and Daniel Morad. Issues with two quicker competitors allowed him to grab the final position on the rostrum.
The series' only female competitor was Switzerland's Simona de Silvestro. De Silvestro drove the No. 34 Nuclear Clean Air Energy Swift 016.a. The highlight of her season was a victory in round one at Long Beach. At Trois-Rivieres, de Silvestro was gridded eleventh. Like Junior Strous, she marched forward and finished fourth. De Silvestro was awarded an additional point for advancing the most positions in the race.
Newcomer Dane Cameron was part of Mazda's ladder system after winning the 2007 Pro Formula Mazda title. Cameron received a scholarship to compete in this year's Atlantic Championship. He joined Genoa Racing driving the No. 19 Swift 016.a. His best result to date was a runner-up finish at Road America. Cameron started fourth at Trois-Rivieres but passes by Strous and de Silvestro left him with a fifth-place result.
One of the title contenders, Markus Niemela, drove the No. 8 Brooks Associates Racing Swift 016.a. Niemela had three runner-up results before the series stopped at Trois-Rivieres. The No. 3 Forsythe / Pettit Racing Swift 016.a was driven by another championship hopeful, James Hinchcliffe. Neither driver had a productive weekend in round eighth. Hinchcliffe retired as the result of contact and Niemela had a mechanical failure.

11Jonathan BomaritoSwift 016.aMathiasen Motorsports44-
22Jonathan SummertonSwift 016.aNewman Washs Racing44-
38Junior StrousSwift 016.aCondor Motorsports44-
411Simona De SilvestroSwift 016.aNewman Washs Racing44-
54Dane CameronSwift 016.aGenoa Racing44-
63Daniel MoradSwift 016.aEurointernational44-
710David MartinezSwift 016.aForsythe/Pettit Racing44-
814Tom SutherlandSwift 016.aBrooks Associates Racing44-
912Greg MansellSwift 016.aWalker Racing44-
1015Henri KarjalainenSwift 016.aJensen MotorSport44-
1116Douglas SoaresSwift 016.aCondor Motorsports44-
1218Frankie MunizSwift 016.aPacific Coast Motorsports44-
1320Leo MansellSwift 016.aWalker Racing44-
1417Dominick MuermansSwift 016.aCondor Motorsports44-
1519Eric JensenSwift 016.aJensen MotorSport44-
1613Luis SchiavoSwift 016.aEurointernational37-
175Markus NiemelaSwift 016.aBrooks Associates Racing30Mechanical
186Carl SkerlongSwift 016.aPacific Coast Motorsports21Mechanical
197James HinchliffeSwift 016.aForsythe/Pettit Racing6Contact
209Kevin LacroixSwift 016.aWalker Racing6Contact

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