Unique duo enjoys Infiniti Pro Series test at Texas.
Sprint car driver Mitrisin, F1 test driver Turner both eye full-time rides in 2003.

FORT WORTH, Texas, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2002 -- Their backgrounds may be vastly different, but veteran McLaren Formula One test driver Darren Turner and Midwest winged sprint car veteran Jeff Mitrisin both enjoyed their Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series debuts during testing Dec. 17-18 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Turner, 28, from Camberley, England, was impressed with both the facility and the 450-horsepower Infiniti Pro Series machine.

"This circuit (Texas) is completely different," said Turner, who won the prestigious McLaren/Autosport Young Driver of the Year Award in 1996. "The track and the banking is lot more than I expected it to be. It's so big I've got to focus a bit more on what I'm doing, but so far, so good. I've still got more time to get used to the car and everything else about this whole racing, really."

Turner, who completed 51 laps of the 1.5-mile Texas oval Dec. 17 in a Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, hopes to compete in the Infiniti Pro Series in 2003 and ultimately advance to the Indy Racing League.

"Hopefully I can get a deal together and come back next year and do the Infiniti Pro Series," Turner said. "Ideally, I want to be in the IRL at some stage, but I think I've got a lot to learn. So, do a year in the Pro Series and learn all the racing and the circuits and how things happen over here, and then come back and try for the IRL."

Winged sprint car and World of Outlaws Gumout Series regular Mitrisin took over from Turner on Dec. 18 and was equally enthusiastic about his first experience in an Infiniti Pro Series car.

"This was my first time in a Pro Series car, and I adapted real well," Mitrisin said. "It took us maybe 10 laps to get comfortable with it to run flat out around here. I felt really comfortable after that, and then we just started making some few minor changes. I was just basically out there having fun." Mitrisin, from Oskaloosa, Iowa, completed a total of 76 laps during testing and looks forward to more in the future.

"I hope I'm fortunate enough to get involved with the Infiniti Pro Series and go from there," Mitrisin said. "This is kind of where I would like to be. I would like to get something together and maybe race the series."