DETROIT (Oct. 15, 1999) - The location and dates have been finalized for the test sessions for the inaugural Championship Auto Racing Teams African-American Driver Development Program.
The drivers selected for the test in a Toyota Atlantic race car - Los Angeles-native David Francis, Jr.; Andrew Kelley of Columbus, Ohio; and Bill Lester of Oakland, Calif. - will receive their seat fitting and be familiarized with the cars at the Cal Wells-owned PPI race shop in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., on October 25. The test sessions are scheduled for October 26 at Buttonwillow Raceway, north of Los Angeles.
The PPI team recently won the 12-race, 1999 KOOL Toyota Atlantic Championship with driver Anthony Lazzaro at the wheel and will conduct a comprehensive test session for each driver to gauge his open-wheel racing prowess.
"We are looking forward to getting these drivers in the cars and letting them demonstrate their capabilities," said Wells, who also runs a two-car team with drivers Scott Pruett and Cristiano da Matta in the FedEx Championship Series. "We will be able to determine the potential of each driver as we run them through our day of testing."
Following the test session, each driver will be given a comprehensive, written evaluation of his experience that will assist him in his efforts to land drives, as well as sponsors, as his career progresses.
"All of us at CART are hoping that these drivers emerge as top talents who have the ability to race in the top level of open-wheel racing - the Champ Cars in the FedEx Championship Series," said Andrew Craig, chairman and CEO of CART.
Each driver will run approximately 100 miles during the test. The PPI team, led by on-site manager Nick Harvey and race engineer Kyle Brannan, will make a series of changes to the car and evaluate how each driver responds to those changes on track. After the on-track runs, Harvey and Brannan will conduct individual debriefing sessions with each driver to ultimately assess their overall feedback, technical ability and performance in the Atlantic car.