Sebring, FL -- Motorola PacWest Mercedes-Benz driver Mark Blundell walked away from a 130mph crash during testing at Sebring in Florida this afternoon. The rear of the car lost traction at turn four and Blundell was left as a passenger as his...
Sebring, FL -- Motorola PacWest Mercedes-Benz driver Mark Blundell walked away from a 130mph crash during testing at Sebring in Florida this afternoon.
The rear of the car lost traction at turn four and Blundell was left as a passenger as his car was thrown into a protective tire wall.
Fortunately, extra tires had been added to the safety barrier after Paul Tracy crashed his Team KOOL Green Reynard at the same place last month.
"Thankfully the track operators had placed more tires at the barrier since (Paul) Tracy's accident and that helped avoid more damage to the car or myself," said Blundell. "We had just made some changes to the rear suspension and the bumps at that part of the track caught us out. I have a slightly sore neck, but that's about it. "We were running with fuel on board and trying a few things and they obviously did not work out. Experimenting with things is what testing is all about -- sometimes you pay the price for that."
Blundell's accident damaged the Reynard's front and rear wings, steering rack, gearbox tail case and left hand side pod and underwing.
The team did a thorough examination of the car before deciding that it would travel back to Indianapolis to "re-group" and schedule further testing days.
It was another disappointing day for PacWest after losing a full day of testing yesterday with gearbox problems.
Under the 2000 CART testing rules, a team is allowed one day per entry where if it runs less than a total of 50 miles the session is not counted as one of its allotted tests.
"We could have had the car running again, but with the size of the hit we simply would not have produced a productive day tomorrow," said Team Manager Russell Cameron. "In defense of Mark, the lack of downforce created with the new aero kit is causing a few problems. "Engineers are going to have to work harder than ever to find mechanical grip. "Track time is also vital with manufacturers trying to put together the most driveable package they can. We will be trying to schedule another road course test as soon as possible."
Testing is scheduled to continue at Phoenix International Raceway on February 28-29.