Lincolnshire, Ill. - December 17, 2001 - Newman/Haas Racing is on track today in Fontana. Christian Fittipaldi is at California Speedway today to perform a two-day tire test for Bridgestone/Firestone. Fittipaldi will be behind the wheel of the 2001 No. 11 Kmart Toyota-Lola as well as the 2001 No. 6 Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota-Lola that teammate Cristiano da Matta drove to victory in the recent CART FedEx Championship season-finale Marlboro 500. The test will provide the first at-track experience for the team's new race engineer Guillaume "Rocky" Rocquelin since joining Newman/Haas Racing in early December. Rocquelin was most recently race engineer for Scott Dixon who was named 2001 Jim Trueman CART Rookie of the Year. Prior to graduating with honors and first in class with an engineering degree in France in 1992, Rocquelin worked with Reynard Racing Cars in England in 1992 in their graduate training program. After a one year compulsory stint in the French National Service where he served as a sergeant, he rejoined Reynard and worked for the following five seasons on the CART Champ car program with drivers such as Michael Andretti, Jimmy Vasser (championship season), Patrick Carpentier and Alex Zanardi (championship season) prior to joining British American Racing's Formula One team as race and test engineer for the 1999 season. For the 2000-2001 seasons, Rocquelin was a race engineer for PacWest Racing.
- Fittipaldi finished third in Third Annual Run for Children Yesterday. Prior to getting on a coast-to-coast flight to test in Fontana yesterday, Fittipaldi competed in the third annual Run for Children in Key Biscayne, Fla. and finished third in his age group (30-34) and 12th overall after completing 21 km in 1:29:37. The event was sanctioned by the Miami Runners Club, a member of the Road Runners Club of America. Fittipaldi maintains an aggressive workout program that consists of cycling and running as well as an occasional dip in the pool. Earlier this year, Fittipaldi won the first 5K he competed in - The Buitoni 5K (April 20, '01) in Key Biscayne, Fla., which is part of the Florida Championship. Two days later he finished sixth overall in the Coca-Cola Triathlon (April 22, '01) against veterans. He attended the Ironman Training Camp in June 1999 after two days of private instruction by the 1998 Champions (men's and women's) and is interested in someday competing in the Ironman competition. He competed in his first triathlon in September 1999 while recuperating from the head injury from his Aug. 2 testing accident and finished fourth in his age group and 20th overall out of 140 competitors in the West Palm Beach, Fla. event. Cycling partners include teammate da Matta and fellow CART driver Tony Kanaan.
- First 2002 Lola scheduled to arrive on Thursday, December 20 Newman/Haas Racing is scheduled to take delivery of their first 2002 Lola chassis at their Lincolnshire, Ill. base. The chassis should be the third overall Lola to be delivered to a CART team as Target Chip Ganassi Racing received the first and Fernandez Racing, the second. Fittipaldi will travel from the test in Fontana, Calif. to Chicago, Ill. to be on hand when the car arrives. The team is scheduled to have the second chassis delivered before the start of 2002 with the remaining chassis arriving mid-to-late January. Fittipaldi is scheduled to test the 2002 Toyota-powered Lola at Sebring International Raceway on January 10-11 before handing testing duties to Cristiano da Matta on January 21-23.
- Where is the New All-Star?Texaco/Havoline/Kmart driver Cristiano da Matta has been relaxing at home in Belo Horizonte, Brazil after some post-season celebrations for his back-to-back wins in the final two events of the season in Australia and Fontana, Calif. and his recent naming to the 2001 CART All-Star Team with drivers Gil de Ferran, Helio Castroneves, Kenny Brack and Michael Andretti. Da Matta has been cycling and swimming daily to prepare for an unofficial cycling competition on December 23 in Brazil with friends.