SEBRING, Fla. (December 22, 2000) --- Newman/Haas Racing's first test with their 2001 Toyota-powered Lola chassis at Sebring International Raceway concluded late yesterday with Big Kmart/Route 66 driver Christian Fittipaldi behind the wheel for the entire test.
Initially the test was scheduled for three days but the team was only able to run 45 miles on the first day, Dec. 19 before cold temperatures and high winds forced the day to end early. The inclement weather continued on Day 2 and the team only ran a few laps to evaluate the conditions. Fittipaldi ran most of the day on Thursday and all were happy with the progress made during the test. (Lap times were not available at the time of printing.)
Photo: Newman/Haas Racing
"We were able to learn a lot about the car during this test," said Fittipaldi. "Now we can focus in on areas where we think we can improve but overall I am very happy with the new Lola chassis and the all-new Phase 7 Toyota engine. After everyone takes some well-deserved time off for the holidays, we can come back and continue learning more about the car. There is a new dynamic in the team and I think Cristiano and I will work together very well in 2001 which will help the team score more wins and be a contender for the Championship."
The team will resume testing after the holidays at Sebring, January 9-11. Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline driver Cristiano da Matta will be behind the wheel of the 2001 package for the first two days of a three day test before handing the keys over to Fittipaldi for the final day. The CART Sneak Preview media event in Fontana, California (January 16-18), will be next on the agenda for the drivers as will a celebration for Fittipaldi's 30th birthday on January 18.
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.