Following the BMW World Finals in Spain, Gelles Racing has been quite active in the last few weeks. Both the Champ Car Atlantic and BMW USA teams tested with excellent drivers. Seats are filling up again as Gelles assembles a strong team of international talent from the United States and other nations. For one thing, German Champion Maximilian Götz performed incredibly well last week, and the rising superstar’s chances of starting the season with Gelles appear to be very good.

According to team owner Bob Gelles, both the Champ Car Atlantic and BMW USA series have established stepping stones to the next generation Champ Car World Series. “In a few of years, the BMW USA series has established itself as the entry-level series of choice for young drivers from North and South America. The 14-race schedule was only recently revealed.

Last year, the new Champ Car Atlantic was an instant hit, and as team owners, we’ve received numerous requests for testing from drivers who want to race in the United States and Canada.”

John Zartarian and Maximilian Götz

Gelles put German Champion Maximilian Götz and Californian John Zartarian through their paces on the newly paved Savannah track last week. In Europe, Götz had a strong resume in Formula BMW (vice-champion to Nico Rosberg and champion to Sebastian Vettel) and the F3 Euroseries. Maxi set a new track record and never put a wheel in the wrong place. “He fell in love with the team,” Gelles added, “and will be back soon to continue developing and gelling with the group.” He’s one of the fastest I’ve seen in a long time.”

“The Gelles staff was incredibly well organized,” the 20-year-old German continued, “and made me feel extremely at ease from the beginning.” The car was incredibly balanced, and I had a terrific time working with my engineers; we collaborated effectively and made steady progress, which gave me a lot of confidence in the car and team. Now that I’ve proven to myself that Gelles can win races, I’m looking forward to winning with them next season.”

Gelles added, “I was also impressed by John (Zartarian).” “This season, John was our best BMW USA driver, and he appeared to pick up the Swift 0,16a Mazda quickly.” He drove 225 miles the next day, enjoyed the car’s balance and feel, and worked methodically with his crew. John will be back for more at MSR Houston.”

Goring, Ouellette, Costa, Major, and a few others… Laursen

This week in Savannah, the BMW lads will get their chance to shine, with some of the greatest prospects taking to the track. Jonathan Goring, the 2006 National Champion of Skip Barber, has set his sights on the Gelles BMW FB02 race car. Pierre-Luc Ouellette is the third driver in a long line of Quebec drivers to get a unique scholarship following a stellar 2006 karting season. Ian Costa is a 2007 Formula BMW USA Scholar who hopes to race in the Gelles FB02 next season. After ups and downs in the last two years, Philip Major is ready to show what he can accomplish with a reliable automobile.

“This is a terrific line-up for testing BMW machinery,” the team principal said. “Anyone can guess who will be the fastest, and I know they’re all fierce competitors.” Dane Jesper Wulff Laursen in a Champ Car Atlantic machine is another young man I’d want to see. Jesper is the champion of the extremely difficult Scandinavian Formula Renault championship, and we’ll see if Maxi Gôtz’s times will hold up in Savannah. One thing is certain for our team: we will win races and compete for championships in 2007.”

Calendar of tests

“For the drivers who want to get their hands on one of these exquisite BMW or Swift racing vehicles, there will be more sessions added to this calendar,” Gelles added. “We still have a few spots available for people interested in learning more about the future sessions or others that are going to be released.”