CHAMPCAR/CART: Da Matta completes second test day

SEBRING, Fla. (January 11, 2001) --- Texaco/Havoline Newman/Haas driver Cristiano da Matta completed his second day of testing the 2001 Toyota-powered Lola chassis yesterday at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla. and was pleased with...

SEBRING, Fla. (January 11, 2001) --- Texaco/Havoline Newman/Haas driver Cristiano da Matta completed his second day of testing the 2001 Toyota-powered Lola chassis yesterday at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla. and was pleased with the experience despite limited time in the racecar.

"Overall we learned a lot over the two days and I am happy with the results although we didn't run a full day either day so there is more to come," said da Matta. "We spent Tuesday morning getting me fitted into the car but learned a lot in the afternoon. We ran well most of Wednesday, which was even cooler that the day before, but we were only able to complete about 100 miles before we had to park the car because we found some things we needed to work on. That's what testing is about though."

Da Matta was the fastest driver for most of the day, running a 51.4-second lap in the morning session and again after the lunch break. He was only able to make a few short runs in the afternoon session before the team encountered minor engine and gearbox problems, thus ending the test day.


Photo from Newman/Haas Racing.

"We were quicker most of the day but when we got back out after the stop for lunch, we made a few short runs then we had some problems that ended the day," added da Matta. "We did not get to run during the best part of the day when the track was cooler and there was no wind and a few guys went quicker than us. Overall the test was very positive though. We tried new settings and everything seems to be working in the right way. I am still getting to know everyone and they are getting to know me better. My feeling is that it is going to be very good with me and my new team."

Kmart Newman/Haas driver Christian Fittipaldi took over testing duties today and will conclude this round of testing at Sebring. A report will follow on his testing results. Both drivers will be traveling to The California Speedway for CART's annual Sneak Preview media event next week. Fittipaldi is looking forward to returning to the track as the reigning champion after wining the 2000 season-ending Marlboro 500 and the $1 million paycheck.

The 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series season opener will take place on March 11 in Monterrey, Mexico. The series will compete in 22 races in eight countries around the world in 2001. Log onto Newman-Haas.com, FITTIPALDIonline.com or damatta.com (Portuguese only) for more information on the team.

-NHR-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Christian Fittipaldi , Cristiano da Matta