CHAMPCAR/CART: Monterrey: Newman-Haas Racing preview

Newman/Haas Racing Stats - Fundidora Park, Monterrey, Mexico BEST START/FINISH: The team has started as high as second place (da Matta - 2001) won the two previous events (da Matta - 2001 & 2002). WINS ON ROAD/ STREET COURSES: The team has won...

Newman/Haas Racing Stats - Fundidora Park, Monterrey, Mexico

BEST START/FINISH: The team has started as high as second place (da Matta - 2001) won the two previous events (da Matta - 2001 & 2002).

WINS ON ROAD/ STREET COURSES: The team has won 45 of their 68 victories on road/street courses.

POLES ON ROAD/ STREET COURSES: The team has won 56 of their 71 pole positions on road/street courses.

JUNQUEIRA'S BEST START/FINISH: 7th / 11th - both in 2002 (ran as high as 6th in 2002 before engine failed on final lap)

BOURDAIS'S BEST START/FINISH: Inaugural event here as well as second event in Champ Car World Series.

Driver Stats and Quotes:

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA, #1 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:

- IN MONTERREY: Junqueira started 20th in the 2001 race in his debut in Champ cars and retired in 22nd place due to a mechanical failure. In 2002, he started the race in seventh place but was held up due to a multi-car accident started by rookie Townsend Bell and dropped to the back of the field. He charged back to sixth place by the final lap but he suffered an engine failure and retired in 11th place. This will be his THIRD race at this track.

- SO FAR IN 2003: Was second fastest in provisional qualifying in St. Petersburg but his fastest qualifying lap in final qualifying (potentially third) was disallowed because he brought out a red flag when he spun and stopped on course. More red flags were shown throughout the remainder of the session and he was unable to better the time he set on Friday and started seventh. He fought back from 14th to finish third after losing many positions on his first of three pit stops when the air hose of the inside rear tire changer's air gun disengaged...He is currently ranked 3rd in the point standings with 14 points.

- 41ST START/THIRD SEASON IS CHARM: The race will mark his second event with NHR and 41st overall after he made 39 starts with Target/Ganassi Racing in 2001 and 2002. His past two championships have come in his third season in those series.

- ON STREET/ROAD COURSES: Two of his three wins came on this type of course ('01 Elkhart Lake road course, '02 Denver street course). He collected 110 of his 164 total points in the '02 championship on this type of course.

- RUNNER-UP TO 2002 CHAMPION: Was runner-up in the '02 championship to NHR driver Cristiano da Matta in his second season at Target Chip Ganassi Racing after he collected a total of 164 points...Won two races (Japan and Denver), four pole positions (Japan, Elkhart Lake, Denver, Mexico City) and finished on the podium a total of six times in 19 events (second place: Portland, Chicago; third place Elkhart Lake, Mexico City)...Was the only driver to win poles and races on both road and oval courses. Also in 2002, he competed in one Indy Racing League event - the Indy 500 - where he started on pole and led the first 32 laps before he retired in 31st place due to engine and gearbox failure.

- DID YOU KNOW: Is a second-generation race car driver. His father Jose was an amateur racer of stock cars in Brazil...Began racing BMX bikes at the age of six and go-karts at the age of 11...Hobbies include tennis, playing computer racing games and surfing sports, financial and etc. sites on the Internet... Enjoys listening to music. Among his favorite bands are the Rolling Stones, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Aerosmith...Single, 26...Has two sisters, Diana, 24, and Caroline, 21. Diana is his manager and also maintains his website...Fitness regime includes running, cycling, playing tennis and most sports. When not at a race he usually awakes at 7 AM and cycles for 1.5 to 2 hours a day. He also uses free weights daily and run three times a week...His personal car is a Black BMW M3 and his first car was a Fiat Uno....His favorite TV show is E! Entertainment's "Wild on."...His cooking specialty is pasta with a Hearts of Palm sauce that he and his sister Diana created. Another specialty is salmon with capers and lime...He speaks four languages - English, Portuguese, Italian and Spanish.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, #2 Newman/Haas Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:

- IN MONTERREY: Will be his first Champ car race here and second overall.

- IN 2003: By earning the pole position in his Champ car debut in St. Pete, Bourdais became the first driver to accomplish the feat since Nigel Mansell won the pole for the '93 Australian event - also while driving for NHR...Bourdais led 30 laps in St. Pete and became the first driver in the 25 year history of series to lead the first laps of his inaugural Champ car race...He also set the fastest race lap...He is currently ranked 10th in the point standings with four points.

- BONUS POINTS: Has earned TWO bonus points this season -- one each for Friday & Saturday's qualifying session in St. Pete.

- REIGNING CHAMPION: Like his teammate Junqueira, Bourdais won the F3000 championship honors. He won three races (Imola, Italy; Monaco; Nurburgring, Germany) six pole positions (Interlagos, Brazil; Imola, Italy; Barcelona, Spain; Monaco, Nurburgring, Germany; Spa, Belgium) and finished on the podium a total of seven times en route to the 2002 Championship while driving for Team Super Nova Racing. Also set the fastest race lap three times (Interlagos, Spain, Belgium). Also in 2002, he won two races and one pole position for Team Pescarolo Sport in the FIA Sport Championship where he finished second overall in the standings. Was also part of the winning team for the 24 Hours of Spa endurance race.

- PRE-SEASON TESTING: Bourdais earned the second NHR seat after two test days in December and January (one day each). He also ran two days at Laguna Seca Raceway where he set the second fastest time of the test. In CART's annual Spring Training, held in Sebring, Fla. he ran the fastest lap time of the three-day test. Prior to the first event, he had only been in a Champ car seven days.

- ROOKIE OF THE YEAR CHASE: For only the second time in the 21 year history of the team, NHR is a candidate for the Jim Trueman Rookie of the Year contest. There are currently a total of eight drivers vying for this honor. Reigning F 1 World Champion Nigel Mansell was the only other "rookie" to compete for the team. Mansell went on to win five races and seven pole positions in route to the Champ car championship as well as capture Rookie of the Year honors.

- DID YOU KNOW: Bourdais won born in the legendary racing town of Le Mans, France around the time that the movie Le Mans was released... Began racing at the age of 12...His father, Patrick, competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans five times...Fitness regime includes running and swimming. Cycling is also part of his regime although he did not bring his bicycle to the U.S....Resides in the same condominium building that former NHR driver and 2002 Champion Cristiano da Matta lived...Hobbies include mountain biking, running, watching movies, swimming ... Enjoys listening to music and among his favorite bands are the Stereophonics, U2, Placebo, Radiohead, Queen...Studied engineering in college for one year before focusing solely on a racing career...Single, 24.

What They're Saying About...

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA, #1 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:

(What are your expectations for the race in Monterrey, Mexico?) "I think the combination between me and Newman/Haas Racing is a good thing for Monterrey. I had two bad races there so I really want to put the PacifiCare car up front and they won the two races and want to continue their success. A mechanical failure ended my race in 2001 and last year I went to the back of the field trying to avoid Townsend Bell's crash and then I drove hard to make up for it but my engine blew on the last lap. I hope that Newman/Haas's success rubs off on me and I can win the race this year. For sure to drive for the team that won the last two races will be big. They want to win a third time and I really want to as well. I'm going to try really hard. There is some pressure but on the other hand, I really want to do well and the team has a good set-up so we should be competitive.

(Why has the race been a big success?) "I love to race in Monterrey. It's a pretty nice track. It's a little slippery which should make it even more interesting this year without traction control. The crowd is huge. There are a lot of big race fans and that makes me really excited. I think the fans in Mexico are incredible. They really watch us and know all of the drivers. It is a huge crowd. Every race day in Mexico there have been over 100,000 people. Latin Americans scream and shout and you hear them when you are on the parade lap. You can listen to the people going crazy. I just love racing in Monterrey!"

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, #2 Newman/Haas Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:

(On winning the pole in St. Pete and whether you can do this in Monterrey:) "We knew it was possible to win the pole once we ran well in St. Petersburg but it's always a surprise when you are a rookie and win the pole straight away in the first race. It was definitely a good surprise especially since the last time it was done was in 1993 by Nigel Mansell. What I know about Monterrey is that Newman/Haas has a really good car there and they won the last two races so I think we have a good chance to run well. It is a pretty low grip track and the layout is nice from what I know. I have heard that I would enjoy the race in Monterrey. I'm looking forward to racing again."

(Now that your first two-hour race is behind you, how was it in terms of physical demands?) "I think that the St. Pete race was physically easy because the grip was lower and the car was reacting very good. It's always easier when the car is handling good. I think there will be harder races this season definitely."

(Pressure and disappointment are part of racing but how do you handle what happened in St. Pete?) "It is going to be a learning season for sure but the important thing will be to see how quick we will learn together. If we can learn from our mistakes and move on, it is going to determine how well the season progresses. We will probably be able to win some races this year but I don't know if we will be able to battle for the Championship. The car is good so it's creating a lot of expectations. We will make the most of it."

How would you rate your first race with pit stops? "I think the team did a good job. Our stops were around one second quicker that the others so I think we did well in this area. We practiced a lot on this and I think it went well. It was one of the new things for me this season and was a question mark so it is good to have the experience now and we will continue to improve on this for Monterrey. Pit stops are important in Champ car racing as they can mean the difference between winning and losing."

-nhr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Nigel Mansell , Townsend Bell , Chip Ganassi , Cristiano da Matta