HOMESTEAD, FLA. (January 13, 2000)---Michael Andretti, the winningest active driver in the CART FedEx Championship Series got behind the wheel of the 2000-spec Lola chassis for the first time at Homestead-Miami Speedway on January 12-13 in ...
HOMESTEAD, FLA. (January 13, 2000)---Michael Andretti, the winningest active driver in the CART FedEx Championship Series got behind the wheel of the 2000-spec Lola chassis for the first time at Homestead-Miami Speedway on January 12-13 in preparation for the 2000 racing season. Over the two-day time frame, Andretti ran approximately 300 miles at the 1.5-mile oval track. No lap times were released.
"Christian (Fittipaldi) had a good test with the new Lola on a road course so we were optimistic about the car on an oval," said Andretti, driver of the No. 6 Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Championship car. "We started off slow on Wednesday so we could learn about the Lola on this type of course. We had to play around a little to get a good set-up and were able to run some good times in the afternoon. From what I know about the other lap times, we ran some of the best times so far at Homestead. Pre-season times don't mean anything once the season starts but it definitely feels good to run well out of the box."
Andretti also tested the new Ford-Cosworth XF engine and Handford Mk II rear wing for the first time and had a favorable opinion of both.
"The new Ford XF was great," said Andretti. "The power is good. It is everything I have heard about it and more. It was a little hard to tell the total capability of the engine with the new rules and rear wing. Ford is working hard to make sure it will be as reliable as the Ford XD was. The new wing is definitely a step forward from the original Handford wing. It definitely does what it was designed to do. We were about a second slower with the new wing, which was CART's goal. The drivability is similar to last year but it is a little trickier. It's just like everything else, once you get used to it, there is no problem. I hope 2000 is the season for us. The competition is going to be as strong as ever in CART so we need to keep up the hard work. It takes a lot to win in this series these days."
This was Newman/Haas Racing's second test with the 2000 package and first on an oval after Big Kmart driver, Christian Fittipaldi's, initial test on the road course at Sebring International Raceway in December where he set the fastest unofficial time to date. Fittipaldi, who won his first CART race and pole in 1999, was on-site both days of the test, which was near his U.S. base of Key Biscayne, Fla.
The CART FedEx Championship Series season begins on March 26 with the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Andretti won back-to-back events in 1997 and 1998 events and finished second to the late Greg Moore in 1999.