NEW DRIVER AND CAR GET AQUAINTED AT THE HOMESTEAD OVAL February 4, 1999 - Hogan Racing CART Re-Cap Spring Training Driver: Helio Castro-Neves, No. 9 Hogan/Mercedes/Lola/Firestone Best Time: 25.784 seconds NEW CAR AND DRIVER GET AQUAINTED FOR...
NEW DRIVER AND CAR GET AQUAINTED AT THE HOMESTEAD OVAL
February 4, 1999 - Hogan Racing CART Re-Cap Spring Training Driver: Helio Castro-Neves, No. 9 Hogan/Mercedes/Lola/Firestone
Best Time: 25.784 seconds
NEW CAR AND DRIVER GET AQUAINTED FOR FIRST TIME ON HOMESTEAD OVAL
Homestead, FL (Thursday, February 4)- Brazilian Helio Castro-Neves completed his first oval laps of 1999 this week at the Homestead Motorsports Complex during CART's annual Spring Training exercises in Homestead, FL. The 23 year-old logged 526 miles during the two-day exercise and began to learn the Lola B99/00-the only Mercedes/Lola/Firestone combination in the 28 car field-which he will campaign during this years record 20 race FedEx Championship series season.
Castro-Neves joined the team on January 27th and has had no problem adapting to his new surroundings at Hogan Racing.
"The Hogan team has been fantastic! I've only been with these guys a few days and already I feel like I'm part of the family. Everyone works very hard and quick during the sessions so that we don't loose a lot of time in the pits. I'm so happy that I have this opportunity to drive for Carl. For the last week my face has hurt from smiling so much," commented Castro-Neves.
On Wednesday Castro-Neves was able to clock a best time of 26.069 seconds in the closing minutes of the afternoon session, moving him from 21st to 14th position for the afternoon. As the team continued to develop the car on Thursday, he was able to better his time to 25.784 seconds.
"My focus was not to set the race record while we were here. I'm trying to learn the new car and set it up for me. Suprisingly the biggest difference is not in the chassis (Castro-Neves piloted a Reynard last season) but is in the tires. The Firestones work much differently than what I've run here in the past. I've really had to think things through and pay attention to every little change that occurs with every adjustment so that we'll get it right."
The Hogan team will now return to St. Louis, MO and begin preparation for the next test scheduled for the end of the month. The 1999 CART season kicks off on March 21st when the teams return to Homestead for the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami. The race will be televised on ABC-TV beginning at 4:00 p.m. EST.