Schiavo betters Coyne best at Putnam Luis Schiavo completed his two-day test with Dale Coyne Racing by proving that he is more than ready to be given a shot at racing a Champ Car after beating the team's previous best around the Putnam Park...
Schiavo betters Coyne best at Putnam
Luis Schiavo completed his two-day test with Dale Coyne Racing by proving that he is more than ready to be given a shot at racing a Champ Car after beating the team's previous best around the Putnam Park road course.
Already buoyed by how he had adapted to the more powerful machine after stepping up from Formula Mazda, Schiavo returned for his second day behind the wheel and promptly lowered the team's previous track record of 1min 05.5secs - set by current Coyne incumbent Oriol Servia - by three-tenths of a second.
"I'm very pleased," the 23-year old Venezuelan admitted, "We have progressed well since yesterday, although there is still a lot for me to learn. It took me some time to get accustomed to the car, as it obviously quite different to the Formula Mazda. To start with, the Champ Car has 750 horsepower! However, I feel very pleased because I had the chance to set a good time."
Coyne, a man who has seen plenty of talent come and go through his small team, was complimentary about Schiavo's performance.
"I am very pleased," he revealed, "Yesterday, Luis was to some two-and-a-half seconds off Oriol's best time, but today he was faster. You were able to see the difference today - Luis felt more comfortable, and felt less pressure than yesterday. This is a monstrous step - one of more than 500 horsepower - but he was simply professional in the way he went about his work."
Schiavo explained that the first part of the day had been spent building up to the point where he could go for a quick lap.
"Right from the start, we were preparing the car to go for a good lap, and finally we achieved a decent time, " he confirmed, "We thought that, if we could get all the work done in the morning, we could put new rubber on in the afternoon and go for it.
"The afternoon session began with plenty of progress, and we already were a second faster than the best time of yesterday. Then, on the final run of the day, we put new tyres on and ended up with a time of 1min 05.2secs. The team did a great job and gave me a good car."
Schiavo has made no secret of his ambition to join the Champ Car World Series in the near future, and Coyne now sees no reason why the Venezuelan shouldn't be a worthy addition to the field.
"I know that Champ Car is his objective, and I think that this test was important," he explained, "Every driver that has tested with us tells us that they 'can do it', but it is one thing to be fast in a lower category, but can they be fast in a car that has this sort of power? That is very different! But Luis showed in this test that he can be quick in a Champ Car."
Schiavo has confirmed that he intends to see out this season in his current championship while working on a Champ Car programme for 2006 and beyond.
"This year, we are going to finish the Formula Mazda championship - and are going to try to take the title," he said, "I think that there is a good chance of that. We are in fourth place in the points, but still very close to the leader. This will be my last year in Mazda, and I now believe that I am ready to take the next step. Of course, it will all depend on the support that I can get from businesses back in Venezuela, but I hope that they will see the value of having one of their countrymen in a Champ Car."