FAIRFIELD, N.J., Nov. 10 - Andersen Walko Racing (AWR) is pleased to announce that it will campaign Jonathan Klein of Long Grove, Ill. and Graham Rahal of New Albany, Ohio in the Star Mazda series presented by Goodyear in 2005.
The powerhouse team, which won the Formula Ford Zetec team championship in 2004, also hopes to announce the names of two additional drivers soon to round out a four-car Star Mazda line-up for the team in 2005.
Klein, 17, will return to both Andersen Walko Racing and the Star Mazda series for a second year. He won the series' Most Improved Driver award for 2004.
Rahal will turn 16 on Jan. 4. He finished seventh in the Formula BMW series this year, and will be a rookie in Star Mazda in 2005. He is especially looking forward to being part of a multi-car team in the very competitive series.
"Jonathan did a great job in Star Mazda this year, and impressed a lot of people," team co-owner John Walko said. "Graham is very mature for his age too, and is also pleasant to work with. He did a few laps in our car last week at BeaveRun [Motorsports Complex near Pittsburgh] and did a really good job."
"We're very pleased that Jonathan has signed up to run with us again and we're also pleased that Bobby [Rahal] has chosen us to run his son in Star Mazda," added his partner, Dan Andersen. "They're both very focused, and we're all looking forward to the new season very much."
"After this year and the results we had and the experience we gained with both the car and the series, we're really looking forward to 2005," Klein said. "By concentrating on Star Mazda, everyone will be more focused. I'm looking forward to working with John Walko, Dan Andersen and everyone else on the team; they're all great people and they're all very knowledgeable. We're looking forward to building on what we learned this season during testing in the off-season and all of 2005. We'll learn a lot and have a great time on and off the track, and I'm really looking forward to it!"
"I watched Andersen Walko in the Zetec series this year, and they always run up front," said Rahal, a sophomore at New Albany High School "I've also known Jonathan Klein for awhile, through go-karts. Andersen Walko runs a nice operation, and I see no reason at all for us not to be contenders in 2005."
The team has a busy off-season testing schedule planned, including a session at BeaveRun next week. Its complete testing schedule can be found on its Web site at www.andersenwalko.com. Additional information can be found at www.starmazda.com, www.americanlemans.com, www.speedtv.com and www.restartcommunications.com, or by calling (973) 244-1900.
The team's office is in Fairfield, N.J. and its shop is in North Versailles, Pa. It will field multiple cars in Star Mazda and SCCA national and club events next year.
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