FORT WORTH-DALLAS (Dec.7, 2000) - In motorsports, all eyes are focused on a December 18 test at Texas Motor Speedway as the CART FedEx Championship Series begins its preparation for the April 29 Texas 600.
Speaking to National Speed Sports News, a highly respected weekly racing publication, driver Mauricio Gugelmin said that CART drivers look forward to facing the challenge of the highest-banked track in the series. He added that he believes CART will develop an appropriate plan that will allow the CART Champ Cars to run competitively and safely at what is expected to be the fastest race of the season.
"The truth is that the cars are already too fast at some of the places we go, and there is the potential for even more speed at Texas," Gugelmin told the publication. "But, we are going to find a solution to race there." Gugelmin, who serves as president of the Championship Drivers Association, indicated his support for a reduction in turbocharger boost. Currently, CART plans to reduce the turbocharger boost from 40 to 37 inches for 2001. That reduction will take 50-75 horsepower away from the CART Champ Cars. In 2002, CART has mandated a further reduction to 34 inches of boost. "I think it makes sense to run 34 inches of boost at Texas next year," Gugelmin said in the National Speed Sport News article. "That will cut the horsepower by 150, which is exactly what we need. The engine manufacturers are going to have to run that specification in 2002 anyway, so running it at Texas will help their development for the following year. "The biggest expense to the teams is actually in terms of suspension components," Gugelmin said in the article. "Stronger parts will be necessary because of the loading generated by the banking."
Texas Motor Speedway general manager Eddie Gossage expressed his pleasure with the enthusiasm and comments from Gugelmin.
"We are looking forward to CART getting down to the business of developing the package they deem appropriate for Texas," Gossage said. "There are some very bright people at CART that I'm certain will determine the best, safest and most affordable ways to adapt the CART Champ Cars to 'The Great American Speedway.' We discussed from the very beginning the need for CART to adjust its formula to adapt the cars to the high-banked turns here at Texas. I'm certain the CART officials will gather a great deal of data at the December 18 test that will help them make the right decisions.
"While I'm no expert, logic would dictate that the Champ Cars would need to beef up their suspension parts," Gossage said. "I sent a letter to CART on October 18 urging them to consider mandating certain suspension components, among others, for the race in April. CART has great integrity regarding safety and competition. I'm sure they are way ahead of everyone on these issues."
Tickets for the April 29 CART FedEx Championship Series Texas 600 are available by contacting the Texas Motor Speedway ticket hotline at (817) 215-8500 or going on line to www.texasmotorspeedway.com.