CHAMP CAR PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT WITH TIMO GLOCK, MICHAEL McDOWELL AND CHARLES ZWOLSMAN
ERIC MAUK: Welcome everyone to today's Champ Car media teleconference where we have three of the next generation of Champ Car stars joining us today. We're joined from Germany by the driver of the #8 DHL Global Mail Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for Rocketsports Racing, the 2005 Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year Timo Glock. Thank you for joining us today.
TIMO GLOCK: Thanks. Nice to be on.
ERIC MAUK: We are also joined by his new teammate, the driver of the #31 Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone, the 20 year old from Phoenix who made his debut last weekend at Surfers Paradise, Michael McDowell . Michael, thank you for joining us.
MICHAEL McDOWELL: No problem, thanks for having us on.
ERIC MAUK: We are also joined by a man who will make his Champ Car debut in Mexico City, the 2005 Toyota Atlantic Championship title winner. He will be the driving the #25 Aussie Vineyards Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for Team Australia down in Mexico City, Charles Zwolsman.
CHARLES ZWOLSMAN: Thank you.
ERIC MAUK: I understand you are at a large football match in your home of Germany, but you've clinched the Rookie-of-the-Year title. Tell us a little bit about how it feels reaching one of your pre-season goals in taking that rookie title.
TIMO GLOCK: Yeah, it was pretty important for me to get the Rookie Championship this year because it was the goal from the beginning on and I think that was really important for me to be Rookie-of-the-Year and it was pretty competitive. These cars are pretty strong all over the year and everybody had the experience on the racetrack. The team did a good job and we got the right results, especially in Montreal and we had a couple of bad weekends in the middle of the season with a couple of results, where we had the chance of finishing Top-5 and things happened, we got hit by Justin in Edmonton when we were running up front and had another race where we were third and lost a gearbox but we had a couple of good results definitely. We're happy that we got everything right and -- in Australia and got the Rookie Championship.
ERIC MAUK: Timo is 9th in the Series points standings but is only 18 points out of fifth with the one race to go. Timo, tell us about -- you come from Formula 1, you ran some races with Jordan last year in the Formula I World Championship. You made the transition to Champ Car. I know you have been asked this 100 times and I am not asking you to compare the two cars, but has a season in Champ Car kind of met up with what you expected when you came here?
TIMO GLOCK: I mean, I tested the first time at the end of 2003 with Walker so I had a couple of impressions about Champ Car. It is a little bit difficult to compare because the two cars are completely different, different style of racing. It starts with the tires, here with the slick tires and the grooves over there, nothing compares as it is a completely different setting. The whole electronic stuff, traction control and all that stuff. Aerodynamics, pretty aggressive in Formula I which is a huge difference to Champ Car. Champ Car it's more about the driver, more about how you set up the cars. When you have a good weekend with one of the frontrunning teams they never change the setup all weekend they change maybe the front wing and that's it. Here in Champ Car you have to work with the engineer close together to get the car right. The race tracks are completely different to Formula 1. Formula 1 is definitely quicker. I had the best comparison in Montreal, and lap times were five, six seconds quicker in a Formula 1 car. It's a different style of racing so it is difficult to compare.
ERIC MAUK: Michael McDowell, you are going to be a very busy young man in Mexico City. You are making your second career Champ Car start, but you are also going to run the Grand American Rolex Series race there as well. Tell us about how that all came about and how you are going to handle this weekend.
MICHAEL McDOWELL: Well, I am in the Championship in the Rolex Series driving the #19 Finley Motorsports Air Force Reserve car. My commitment is to the Grand-Am team and to finish out the season and do a good job and we have had some really good results where we finished in the Top-5 five or six times, and finished second once, so I think we have the package to do really well in Mexico City and try to get our first win for the team.
ERIC MAUK: You had your Champ Car debut at Surfers Paradise as we mentioned before, qualified 16th, finished a very strong 12th; was running at the finish, finished just one lap down in your debut. Tell us about how you felt about your maiden voyage there.
MICHAEL McDOWELL: I definitely had higher expectations than we showed. The car was great. Rocketsports did a really good job. Unfortunately, the first day, it rained the whole day so I didn't get much track time in the dry. That kind of limiting kind of what I could do to prepare in the race. In the race we lost the front wing when I was running behind Bremer and he popped up the tires and lost the wing and that's what cost us. We definitely had more speed than the 12th place car and I think in Mexico City we can be in the top five.
ERIC MAUK: Charles Zwolsman, our 2005 Toyota Atlantic Champion, gets to make his Champ Car debut and actually getting set to set foot in the Champ Cars for the first time. You will have a test session on Thursday. You're down in Mexico City now. Tell us about what you are feeling as you head into your Champ Car debut weekend.
CHARLES ZWOLSMAN: Yeah, it's pretty exciting. Right now I am in Mexico to get used to the thin air around here and Thursday is going to be my first time in a car with so much horsepower so I am pretty excited. Really don't know what to expect.
ERIC MAUK: Tell us about your Atlantic season, three wins, five poles, eight podiums, but to be perfectly honest, you came here in the season opener at Long Beach and not really sure how long you were going to be around.
CHARLES ZWOLSMAN: Actually the first -- it was just for the first race we agreed and I just came over one and a half weeks before the race to make a seat to do one test there just to see how the car was running and the team hadn't run for two years with the car so there were all sorts of problems on the car. And after Long Beach we just got things rolling and every race we got the money in time just to do a next race and here I am the Champion.
ERIC MAUK: Congratulations to all three of you guys. We look forward to a great weekend coming up in Mexico City. We'll turn the call over to the media now.
Q: Long distance question to Timo there. I guess a couple of questions about your season. You started off with running very impressively 6th at Long Beach and then the next few races, you know, not quite as not quite as strong and then from the middle of the season on though you have been qualified in the Top-10 virtually every race weekend. Have been hunting around there. Can you talk about maybe a little bit what happened there early in the season and then what was the difference that's kind of helped you get a lot stronger as the season has gone on?
TIMO GLOCK: First of all, it's all about experience in Champ Car and you need a lot of experience to be consistently in the Top-5 or 10. Definitely, the question there after Long Beach when we had the test in Milwaukee and I crashed pretty heavily and broke my collar bone and had problems with my lower back. Then I crashed in the pitstop and in the race, so a little bit out of sorts. That was a pretty difficult situation, and I couldn't shake it, but any other team took the chance after the -- after Long Beach, and everybody -- not everybody, but a couple of guys went testing and went to Portland and got a little bit of advantage and for sure, after the first race, we had a couple of problems with the car. We had the chance to win the race in Monterey; nobody knows it, but we had the chance. We ended up one lap behind and found our way back in the Top-5. We had the chance to win the race in Montreal.
Q: What would you say was -- in terms of the race crash, shall we say, was the biggest adjustment for you? Was it in sort of just learning the tactics during the races of the pit stops and occasionally going out of sequence, and all that stuff, or what would you say was the biggest adjustment race-wise?
TIMO GLOCK: One race where I learned a lot about life in Champ Car was in Mexico, nothing is finished until the final lap is done, that's pretty important. Was pretty important for me and that's definitely a completely different style to Formula 1. In Formula 1 everything is pretty straight and you know exactly what to fit there and you have to do. In Champ Car you can change the strategy like we did it in Montreal and go out of sequence and like Cristiano da Matta in Portland, he went out of sequence and he won the race. We did the same in Montreal. That's the key for the success there. Every time everything is possible, that's what we have to learn and what we have to think about in the race.
Q: I want to ask Timo, in retrospect are you happy with your decision to come race in America in 2005 and do you think your future is in America?
TIMO GLOCK: Definitely that's the way it was at the end of 2003 was my decision to go to Champ Car. First step with Walker and I was pretty interested on racing in the Championship in the U.S.. Then a couple of things changed and we had the possibility to return to Europe. After the first year in Formula 1 we changed plans and went back to Champ Car and I think Champ Car is on the right way for the future; especially in 2007 when the new car comes up, I think Champ Car will be strong and will be again -- in where they started or where they had the best Championship around, the '90s, and I think that's the right way and that's the way to do it. I can see my future in Champ Car and in the U.S., but what I said from the beginning, when I get the opportunity with one of the top teams in Formula 1, then I will take the chance in Formula 1. But at the moment, I am pretty happy and looking forward to be in Champ Car a second year or third year.
Q: I'd like to ask you, Michael, I wasn't down in Surfers, but from what I can see on television you did a pretty solid job down there. Had to have been a tough place to make your Champ Car debut and I am wondering if you are looking forward to Mexico City just because there are some corners with some run-off area?
MICHAEL McDOWELL: Yeah, definitely. Looking forward to Mexico. For sure, just because I got the first race out of the way, you understand how the weekend works and what kind of pressure you are under, qualifying and the whole process. And Mexico is more of a typical road course and I haven't been on a street course before in any series, so there's definitely a new transition for me. And I think Mexico is going to suit my style a lot better.
Continued in part 2