HOMESTEAD, Fla. (January 13, 2000) -- Michael Andretti ran the fastest lap in pre-season testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Thursday, running a lap of 26.44 seconds (204.5 mph) in preparation for the March 24-26 Grand Prix of Miami presented...
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (January 13, 2000) -- Michael Andretti ran the fastest lap in pre-season testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Thursday, running a lap of 26.44 seconds (204.5 mph) in preparation for the March 24-26 Grand Prix of Miami presented by Toyota.
But setting the fastest testing time on the 1.5-mile oval wasn't the reason the 37-year-old Nazareth, Pa., driver was smiling.
"Even though we're at the infancy stage of this season, we feel like there's a lot of potential with what we have," explained Andretti, a two-time winner of the Grand Prix of Miami. "We didn't have this feeling last year. We didn't start off last year quite as confident as would have liked to have been with our car."
Newman/Haas Racing is switching to Lola chassis for the Kmart/Texaco-Havoline team, powered by Ford's new Cosworth XF engine. The engine not only runs higher RPMs and generates more horsepower than the 1999 version, it also weighs 55 pounds lighter.
"The new Ford engine is really nice, real good," Andretti said. "I think we've got a good little package."
Newman/Haas was one of five CART teams to test on Thursday, joining Walker Racing's Shinji Nakano, Penske Motorsports' Gil de Ferran, Dale Coyne Racing's Takuya Kurosawa, and the PPI Motorsports duo of Cristiano da Matta and Oriol Servia.
Andretti is the most successful driver in the history of Homestead-Miami Speedway. He finished ninth in the Speedway's inaugural CART event (1996), which he followed up by scoring back-to-back victories. He finished second in the 1999 event, won by the late Greg Moore.
"I think you'll see a good, competitive race like you normally see here," Andretti said of the 2000 Miami Grand Prix. "This track always gives you a good race."
Andretti didn't have to give any predictions of how he would do in the 2000 CART FedEx Championship Series opener. His confident smile spoke for itself.
Private testing for the five CART teams will continue Friday. All of the CART FedEx Championship Series teams will be at Speedway February 8-10 for Spring Training.
Ticket orders are now being accepted for the 2000 Grand Prix of Miami presented by Toyota, by calling (305) 230-RACE. For additional information, visit the Speedway's official web site, www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com.