Within the first quarter of every year Mazdaspeed holds a media luncheon to let the world at large know what to expect from all of their motorsports interests for the year. This is my third year going and its always a great event. The cool thing about Mazda is that all the corporate guys are real car geeks and race fans and when race fans get together a good time is had by all. One of the best parts is that there is usually free food (In-N-Out Burgers this year) and various historic and current Mazda powered race cars parked around the R&D courtyard.
This year most of the news revolved around their ladder development series. One ray of sunshine is that Mazda decided to flip the bird to the recession and increase prize money for the Playboy MX-5 Cup series! There is now an additional $500 in contingency money and the first place prize rises to $5,000 Also any team that commits to the full season gets two race entry fees waived.
Perhaps the biggest news of the event was the announcement that the US Racetronics Atlantic team unveiled new drivers and new sponsors for the 2009 season. Celebrity turned race car driver Frankie Muniz and female phenom Simona De Silvestro will drive under the “Team Stargate Worlds” banner this year. Stargate Worlds is a new Massively Multi-player Online (MMO) game based on the Stargate universe that is being developed by Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment and published by FireSky.
If my memory serves me correctly this would be the first time an MMO game has ever sponsored an open wheel racing effort. Hopefully Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment will be the first of many video game developers to sponsor American racing in the future.
Team Stargate Worlds Press Release:
Feb 25, 2009
It is official, Team Stargate Worlds is now in the Atlantic Championship Series
The worlds of gaming, racing, Hollywood, and women sports all merged today when it was announced during the annual MAZDASPEED Motorsports Media Lunch in Irvine, California that Frankie Muniz and Simona De Silvestro would be teaming up for the 2009 Cooper Tires Atlantic Championship Powered By Mazda as part of Team Stargate WorldsTM. The team will be operated by US RaceTronics but will run under the banner of Team Stargate Worlds and features sponsorship from Stargate WorldsTM developer Cheyenne Mountain EntertainmentTM and publisher FireSkyTM. The sponsorship is unique in that Muniz and De Silvestro will be featured in the upcoming Stargate Worlds massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). Based on Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s (MGM) very sucessfull Stargate franchise, Stargate Worlds features tactical modern combat vs. science-fiction weapons and instant travel across the galaxy in a story-driven MMO.
With a challenging 12-race 2009 schedule and a significant prize package that includes a $1 million prize for the series champion, Muniz returns to the Atlantic series after a solid season in 2008 in which he earned three top-10 race results and narrowly missed finishing inside the top 10 in the championship. This marks Muniz’s third year in the series and his second year with the team.
De Silvestro is no stranger to the Atlantic Championship. The native of Thun, Switzerland who currently resides in Phoenix, Ariz. made history last year by becoming the second woman in Atlantic Championship history to win a race by taking the season-opening Imperial Capital Bank Atlantic Challenge of Long Beach. In addition to her historic win last year, De Silvestro’s 2008 season included an impressive eight top-10 finishes and a career-best eighth-place position in the final championship standings.
In addition to the sponsorship from Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment and FireSky, Team Stargate Worlds is also pleased to continue to have the support of Meguiar’s Car Care Products and Mechanix Wear, both of whom have a long relationship with USRT.
Frankie Muniz, Driver No. 77 – “I’m excited about Team Stargate Worlds and the upcoming 2009 Atlantic Championship season. I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone at Cheyenne Mountain and Mr. Gary Whiting for this incredible opportunity. I’m looking forward to working with everyone at US RaceTronics once again including my new engineer Gerald Tyler. I am very excited about the scenario of mixing my two passions of racing and acting, as I will be starring as a galactic racer in the upcoming Stargate Worlds game.”
Simona De Silvestro, Driver No. 78 – “I’m really excited for the 2009 season with Team Stargate Worlds. I want to thank Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment especially Mr. Gary Whiting for the opportunity of a lifetime. The team has a great combination of proven winners including the capable engineering of Burke Harrison, and we hope to have a very strong team this year. I’m also ecstatic about entering Frankie’s world of acting in a virtual sense as I will be starring as a intergalactic racer in the Stargate Worlds game. I’m really looking forward with partnering with Frankie in bringing our team success.”
Imran Safiulla and Shane Seneviratne, Principals of Team Stargate Worlds, – “We are very pleased to have created this association with the USRT family and believe that Team Stargate Worlds will be a very exciting team to watch for in 2009. The Stargate Worlds game is being anticipated as one of the most exciting MMOs to be released and we are very grateful to Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment for their belief in us to develop a strong pre-launch campaign for the game. Both Simona and Frankie are very unique drivers and represent fantastic human journeys. We look forward to being a part of their success and making history.”
Gary Whiting, Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment Founder: “The evolution of Team Stargate Worlds is very exciting for our group. The reach of motorsports to a very large and wide audience demographic is undeniable. The Atlantic series and its assets will prove to be a solid platform that can be used to begin our pre-launch activities for our game, Stargate Worlds. Frankie and Simona are fantastic brand ambassadors and this is just a beginning of what I hope will turn into a long and successful relationship. I would like to specifically thank Shane and Imran for having created a marvelous program.”
FireSky TM is dedicated to the fusion of social experiences with entertainment software and games. FireSky’s first product is the Social Networks at Play game (SNAP), Stargate Worlds, based on the popular science fiction television series Stargate SG-1® and Stargate Atlantis TM which are officially licensed by MGM Interactive. For more information, visit the company’s website www.FireSky.com and the Stargate Worlds community site at www.stargateworlds.com.
About Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment
Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment TM is dedicated to the fusion of social experiences with entertainment software and games. Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment’s first product is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG), Stargate Worlds, based on the popular science fiction television series Stargate SG-1® and Stargate Atlantis TM which are officially licensed by MGM Interactive. For more information, visit the company’s website www.cheyenneme.com and the Stargate Worlds community site at www.stargateworlds.com
About Team Stargate Worlds
Team Stargate Worlds entered the 2009 Atlantic Championship season in partnership with US RaceTronics with one of the world’s most talented female race car drivers Simona De Silvestro and Hollywood star turned serious professional racer Frankie Muniz. For more information about Team Stargate Worlds please visit www.teamstargateworlds.com