FORSYTHE CHAMPIONSHIP RACING GETS FIRST ON-TRACK LOOK AT 2006 QUARTET OF ATLANTIC DRIVERS SEBRING, Fla. (January 26, 2006) -- The results of most racing tests usually focus on the men behind the wheel, but today's testing at Sebring ...
FORSYTHE CHAMPIONSHIP RACING GETS FIRST ON-TRACK LOOK AT 2006 QUARTET OF ATLANTIC DRIVERS
SEBRING, Fla. (January 26, 2006) -- The results of most racing tests usually focus on the men behind the wheel, but today's testing at Sebring International Raceway may wind up telling more about the organization of the new four-car Forsythe Championship Racing team than it did about the drivers.
With the team awaiting the March 8 delivery date of its new 2006 Swift 016.a/Cosworth/Yokohama cars, the Forsythe crew rolled out a pair of 2005 Atlantic machines on a sunny Thursday at Sebring with new drivers Leo Maia and Andreas Wirth running 45 laps apiece. The team will test again on Friday with Richard Philippe and James Hinchcliffe behind the wheel as the FCR squad preps for the upcoming 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama.
"This is really good for us just to get out here and see what we have to work with and how the guys are going to work together," said Atlantic Team Manager John Brunner. "We haven't had an Atlantic car since 1999 and only a couple of our guys have even worked with us before. This is a big undertaking for us and we have hired a good number of new guys for this. It is good to get out here with, but the guys are really excited about getting their hands on the new cars."
Wirth ran in the morning and showed no ill effects from his season-ending injury suffered at Road America last season. The former Formula BMW USA champion joined Maia, the 2003 Barber Dodge Pro Series title-winner, in running an incident-free day and was happy to get down to business with his new team.
"It's a little tough for me because since we are the only guys out here, you can't really compare yourself against anyone else but this test is more about getting to know each other on the team," Wirth said. "I feel great, I don't have any pain at all from the accident and I can't wait to get out here with the new cars. Today was good just to run some laps and get some seat time, and I think we have a lot of good people here that could make this a strong team."
Maia, who ran a pair of Atlantic races a year ago, turned the majority of his laps in the afternoon and found that his time away from the cockpit didn't hurt his abilities as much as he thought it would.
"The day went better than I expected," Maia said. "It took a lot fewer laps than I expected to get up to speed. I looked at the times at the end of my first stint and they were where I thought I might be at the end of the day. I'm still not 100 percent yet but I am a lot farther along than I expected."
The FCR team will take Saturday off after tomorrow's run but will be back in action Sunday and Monday as they give their new charges a chance to shake down the team's Champ Car, along with running the team's Atlantic machines.