In one form or another, there has been a professional Formula Atlantic series in North America since 1974. In 2009, 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.

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.

Many races were held in conjunction with the America Le Mans Series. The 2009 twelve-race championship kicks off in March at Sebring International Raceway as part of the 12-Hours of Sebring weekend. Teams then travel west to Miller Motorsports Park. The first of two double-header weekends is conducted at New Jersey Motorsports Park. The series remains in the Northeast with an event a Lime Rock Park. The second double-header is held at the Autobahn Country Club. In early August, round eight takes place at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The subsequent two events are north of the border at Canada's Trois-Rivieres and Mosport International Raceway. The penultimate round is during the Petit Le Mans weekend at Road Atlanta and the finale is held in mid-October at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Each contest is forty-five minutes long, and competitors get a Mulligan (all drivers will only count points from their eleven best finishes during the twelve-race season).

The opening round of the 2009 Cooper Tires Presents the Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda was conducted during the 12-Hours of Sebring weekend at Sebring International Raceway. Drivers would compete on the 3.74-mile seventeen-turn road course.

Last season's Pro Formula Mazda champion, John Edwards, used his Mazdaspeed scholarship to compete in this year's Cooper Tires Atlantic Championship. His ride for 2009 would be the No. 36 Nuclear Clean Air Energy Swift 016.a from Newman Wachs Racing. Edwards qualified on the outside of the front row. He moved into the lead before the first corner and went flag-to-flag for the victory.
Finishing in the runner-up spot at Sebring International Raceway was another rookie Frederic Vervisch. The Belgian's background included stints in Formula Renault and German Formula Three, where he was the runner-up in 2007 and won the championship in 2008. Vervisch would drive the No. 17 Genoa Racing Swift in this year's Atlantic series. He qualified third in round one and a great start resulted in a second-place finish.
Jonathan Summerton finished third in last year's Formula Atlantic championship with a record that included victories at Edmonton and Road America. Summerton left Newman Wachs Racing in the off-season and joined Genoa Racing in the No. 19 Swift 016.a. He was gridded on the pole for round one at Sebring International Raceway. Unfortunately, a poor start dropped him to the third position, which he would maintain to the checker.
Another newcomer to the 2009 Atlantic series was Latvia's, Harald Schlegelmilch. Before joining the championship, Schlegelmilch collected titles in the 2003 Formula Lista, the 2006 Recaro and Austria Formula Three series. He would debut in the No. 21 Conquest Racing Swift 016.a. After the two qualifying sessions, Schlegelmilch was fourth fastest. While the positions in front of him changed, he would finish fourth.
2009 was Simona de Silvestro's third season in the Formula Atlantic championship. Just as she had done the previous years, de Silvestro joined a new team. Last year she raced with Newman Wachs Racing but left them for the No. 78 Team Stargate Worlds Swift 016.a. De Silvestro started eighth. The sixth and seventh fastest qualifiers crashed on the opening lap and a pass on Borja Garcia was rewarded with a fifth-place finish.
Formula Atlantic teams with the older Swift 014.a chassis, were invited to participate in this year's championship to bolster the car count. The Swift 014.a was introduced in 2002 and replaced by the 016.a in 2006. Drivers would compete in a class designated C2 for these older models. Round one at Sebring International attracted five entries. The fastest qualifier and winner of round one was Mirl Swan.

12John EdwardsSwift 016.aNewman Wachs Racing19-
23Frederic VervishSwift 016.aGenoa Racing19-
31Jonathan SummertonSwift 016.aGenoa Racing19-
44Harald SchlegelmilchSwift 016.aConquest Racing19-
58Simona De SilvestroSwift 016.aTeam Stargate World19-
65Borja GarciaSwift 016.aCondor Motorsports19-
711Tonis KasemetsSwift 016.aPoleStar Motor Racing19-
813James WinslowSwift 016.aConquest Racing19-
910Matt LeeSwift 016.aJensen MotorSport19-
109Frankie MunizSwift 016.aTeam Stargate World19-
1114Mirl SwanSwift 014.aSwan Racing19-
1215Sadat YelkinSwift 014.aSwan Racing19-
1316Ahsen YelkinSwift 014.aSwan Racing19-
1418Michael NacolSwift 016.aJensen MotorSport18-
1517Chris LeeSwift 014.aSwan Racing18-
1619Mike MallinenSwift 014.aSwan Racing1Mechanical
176Markus NiemelaSwift 016.aNewman Wachs Racing0Mechanical
187Jonathan BomaritoSwift 016.aMathiasen Motorsports0Mechanical
1912Max LefevreSwift 016.aCondor Motorsports0Mechanical

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