This Week in Ford Racing April 29, 2003 CART Champ Car World Series COSWORTH RETURNS TO BRANDS HATCH - This weekend marks the return to Brands Hatch for the Champ Cars after a 26-year hiatus. The 1978 USAC Championship Car Series race at...
This Week in Ford Racing
April 29, 2003
CART Champ Car World Series
COSWORTH RETURNS TO BRANDS HATCH - This weekend marks the return to Brands Hatch for the Champ Cars after a 26-year hiatus. The 1978 USAC Championship Car Series race at Brands was won by Rick Mears in a Penske chassis, powered by the famed Cosworth DFX engine. Although Cosworth owns the only Champ Car victory at Brands, the Cosworth has also experienced success in Formula One; posting six wins from 1968-1982, including winning five poles positions.
The 2003 version of the Cosworth engine, dubbed the "XFE", has been both strong and reliable in the three races and various test sessions thus far this season. During a recent two-day test at Arizona Motorsports Park, driver Adrian Fernandez posted the fastest time of the session on the second afternoon at the mileage limit (1,200 miles) on his "XFE" powered Ford.
SOME DRIVERS MAKING RETURN TO BRANDS HATCH - Five drivers will rely on their previous experience at Brands Hatch circuit in hopes that it will help them earn a trip to winner's circle. Points leader Paul Tracy, Adrian Fernandez, Roberto Moreno, Mario Haberfeld and England native Darren Manning have all competed at Brands Hatch earlier in their careers, with Moreno winning the Formula Ford World Cup Festival back in 1980.
TRACKING THE ROOKIES - Three rookies finished in the top 10 in Long Beach, including Ryan Hunter-Reay (7th), Darren Manning (8th), and Mario Haberfeld (9th). Hunter-Reay's 7th place finish was the American's best of the season, besting his previous best effort of 12th in Monterrey. Manning (11 points) made up ground in the rookie championship with his finish and now trails leader Haberfeld (16 points). Fittipaldi-Dingman driver Tiego Montiero is third in the rookie standings with eight points, followed by Hunter-Reay (seven points), Joel Camathias (six points) and Patrick Lemarie (six points).
FORD-COSWORTH DRIVERS TO WATCH -
Paul Tracy - Coming off his third consecutive victory of the season at Long Beach, Tracy will take the track at Brands Hatch looking to join Al Unser, Jr., Alex Zanardi and Cristiano da Matta as the only drivers in series history to win four straight Champ Car races. The early leader in the chase for the championship with 64 points, Tracy is also in search of his first pole position of the year, although he has scored three consecutive front row starting positions.
Michel Jourdain, Jr. - Despite turning in the finest drive of his career, which included his first-ever Champ Car pole position, Jourdain retired from the lead at Long Beach with eight laps remaining after failing to leave pit road on his final stop due to a failed gearbox. Third in the championship standings with 34 points, the 15th-place result in Long Beach was highly disappointing for the eight-year veteran, especially after dominating a race which saw him post its fastest lap and lead 48 of a possible 90 laps.
Bruno Junquiera - Has had a somewhat quiet season thus far, although he's currently second in the points behind leader Paul Tracy. With all the attention paid to his teammate, Sebastien Bourdais, Junquiera has amassed three top-five finishes, including a third-place results in St. Petersburg and Long Beach, to move towards the front of the championship standings.
Adrian Fernandez - Since his disappointing 15th-place finish in the season-opening race in St. Petersburg, Fernandez has rebounded with a pair of top-five finishes, including fourth in Monterrey and second in Long Beach. Fourth in the championship heading into this weekend's race at Brands Hatch, Fernandez is one of just five current Champ Car drivers with previous experience on the famed British circuit (Formula Fords).
Sebastien Bourdais - Although he stands 16th in the points, this rookie has been one of the quickest drivers on the circuit this season and is in search of his first Champ Car victory. While the reigning F3000 champ has struggled in races, he has scored two pole positions and has led 49 laps, second only to Paul Tracy.
SPARK PLUGS - Paul Tracy's victory in Long Beach was his 22nd career Champ Car win, making him the active leader in series victories. Tracy has led 173 of a total 280 laps this season (61.7 percent) ... Herdez Competition driver Roberto Moreno is the only current Champ Car driver that has won previously at Brands Hatch (Formula Fords, 1980).