CHAMPCAR/CART: Mountain pursuit

39 years later... the song of open-wheel cars could be heard within the picturesque setting of Circuit Mont-Tremblant in Quebec Canada during a two-day test last week. Seven teams and 12 drivers tested at the 2.65 mile (4.26 ...

39 years later...

the song of open-wheel cars could be heard within the picturesque setting of Circuit Mont-Tremblant in Quebec Canada during a two-day test last week.

Seven teams and 12 drivers tested at the 2.65 mile (4.26 kilometer) permanent road course preparing for their June 29th - July 1st visit to the Canadian circuit after a 39 year leave of absence for professional open-wheel racing.

The circuit has been reconfigured for safety reasons, although the 15 turn natural road course should prove challenging to the drivers with the geographical elevation changes from the start/finish line to corner eight. The current configuration does not have the turn one chicane that the Champ Cars will have to navigate.

Climbing into his car after missing two races due to a back injury sustained on the streets of Long Beach, Forsythe Racing driver Paul Tracy completed 78 laps and caused a number of red flags for his off course excursions which ended his second day of testing.

"It's great to finally be back in the car. It's been very frustrating just watching from the sidelines but I've worked very hard on my recovery and I had no problems at all driving the car," said the Canadian racer.

Topping the lap charts after the two day test, Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing's Sebastien Bourdais driving the McDonald's #1 car unofficially broke the track record at 1:16.41 which was previously held by a 1995 Reynard in 2005. Bourdais said "the track grip was difficult to read" but he felt that "they made some progress". The reigning champion was very happy with the test and was looking forward to coming back for a good race.

The Flying Dutchman Robert Doornbos of Minardi Team USA, who led one of the test sessions, was impressed with the venue and stated he had a smile on his face after every lap. "It is all a driver wants, fast turns, a lot of blind corners, up hill, down hill, it is really fun to drive."

His teammate "Speedy" Dan Clarke found the speed he had at the end of his rookie season last year after placing second on the lap charts on the first day of testing.

Team Australia had a very successful two days boasting the circuit as a favorite with both Simon Pagenaud and Will Power. Derrick Walker, Team Australia co-owner stated: "It's a real driver's track" as his partner Craig Gore added "Mont-Tremblant will sort the men out from the boys..."

Overall, the Champ Car teams felt that they accomplished the goals they set out for themselves and look forward to returning to Circuit Mont-Tremblant.

The Champ Car World Series now heads to Portland for the Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix presented by Joe's Sport and Outdoor June 8 - 10.

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Series INDYCAR