INDIANAPOLIS (December 7, 2006) – Following one of the most dominant and productive seasons in recent motorsports history, Champ Car Atlantic Championship driver J.R. Hildebrand is continuing to be recognized for his performance and talent exhibited in the 2006 Cooper Tires Formula Ford 2000 series.
Hildebrand, who will compete for Newman Wachs Racing in the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda, recently earned two very prestigious honors. The 18-year-old Sausalito, California racer has been named to the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) All-America Auto Racing Team as a first-team honoree. The selection follows last weekend’s presentation of the 2007 Gorsline Scholarship award to Hildebrand at the Autosport Awards banquet in London, England.
In 2006, Hildebrand had a magical season competing in the FF2000 series. He rode a remarkable wave of 12 wins in 14 races to a convincing series championship while establishing records for victories in a season along with most consecutive wins (seven), series poles (11) and most laps led. The former Team USA Scholarship winner, who also established himself in Formula Palmer Audi competition in Europe, made his Atlantic debut in September with the Newman Wachs team at the season finale at Road America. He was then announced as NWR’s first driver for the 2007 Champ Car Atlantic season in mid November.
In being named to the 17-member AARWBA 2006 All-America First Team, Hildebrand joins the likes of such notable racing superstars as three-time Champ Car World Series champion Sebastien Bourdais, along with NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart and drag racer John Force. It marks Hildebrand’s first selection to the all-star squad. The members of the team will be honored at the annual AARWBA banquet, which will be held on Saturday, January 13 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Indianapolis.
“It’s actually quite a surprise to be elected to the AARWBA All-America Team, to be completely honest,” said Hildebrand. “But it’s such an honor to be a part of that group, and to know that my achievements mean so much to those who voted. It’s a great confidence builder coming into the 2007 season, and I’m sure it will open up some doors for me along the way.”
After winning the Gorsline Scholarship, Hildebrand was presented with the award last weekend in a private reception at the Grosvenor House prior to the Autosport banquet in London. Racing legend Sir Stirling Moss made the presentation of the scholarship, awarded annually by John Gorsline and the Gorsline Company to a young up-and-coming driver that displays the attributes of a future champion. For earning the honor, Hildebrand will have access to several services designed to enhance his driving abilities, including a customized performance enhancement program along with top-notch driver coaching.
“The Gorsline Scholarship is such an exciting award to receive, because it can do so much for my career, as it has already begun to do through the contacts and associations that John Gorsline and the award have brought just in the last few weeks,” added Hildebrand. “Preparation is everything for me, and this award will give me every opportunity I could need to achieve that to the highest degree.”
Hildebrand joins a long list of current and former Atlantic racers who have won the Gorsline Scholarship, including Katherine Legge, Ryan Lewis, Rocky Moran Jr., Danica Patrick, Bryan Sellers, Buddy Rice, Anthony Lazzaro and Bryan Herta.
As he prepares to battle for the Atlantic Championship and the unique $2 million champion’s Champ Car bonus in 2007, Hildebrand will continue his off-season testing program with the Newman Wachs Racing team.