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When Toyota pulled its Champ Car Atlantic Championship sponsorship last year, followed by an announcement that the next iteration of series cars would lose Toyota's 4AGE 1600cc mill in favor of a 2.3-liter Cosworth engine, many speculated that Ford would take over. Well it is; kind of. Today, Mazda announced a three-year marketing deal with the Champ Car Atlantic Championship racing series, which is generally a proving ground for upcoming racers. For the 2006 season, Atlantic cars will be powered by a 300-hp 2.3-liter four-cylinder Mazda-designed MZR engine — also known as the Ford Duratec 23 — prepared by Cosworth Engineering, and mounted in identical Swift 016.a chassis and riding on Yokohama tires. That means the official series name will now be (grab your pencils) "Yokohama Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda." Now all it needs is some fans.

Lola Surprised by Champ Car Panoz Choice [internal]