BOURDAIS AND JUNQUEIRA COMPLETE SEBRING TEST; PREPARE FOR FINAL TEST PRIOR TO SEASON-OPENING CHAMP CAR WORLD SERIES EVENT IN LONG BEACH
SEBRING, Fla. (March 23, 2006) -- Rain brought an early end to the second of a two-day test at Sebring International Raceway today for two-time Champ Car World Series champion Sebastien Bourdais and teammate Bruno Junqueira. The drivers completed a combined total of 840 trouble-free miles on the 1-65 mile road course over the two days of testing in preparation for the 2006 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season.
"We did a lot of work yesterday and today and found some interesting things that that will hopefully pay off during the season," said McDonald's driver Bourdaiswho has spent a lot of time at Sebring recently while competing in, and winning the GT2 class of the 12 Hours of Sebring on March 18 in a Multimatic Panoz. "We got a lot done yesterday and ran for four or five hours today until the rain came. After it stopped we did some pit stop practice but then it started again so we had to end our test early. We only have one more test before the season-opener in a couple of weeks and I'm looking forward to it!"
Junqueira, who also ran in the 12 Hours of Sebring for the same team in the sister car, was unable to get many racing laps under his belt during the 12 Hour race as his car succumbed to mechanical problems early but he was happy to run many miles in his Champ Car. The April 9 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will mark the first time since May 22, 2005 that he will participate in a Champ Car race due to sustaining an injury in the Indy Racing League-sanctioned Indianapolis 500 on May 29, 2005.
"We had two, really good days of testing," said Junqueira. "We found lots of good areas to improve the car. I'm very happy with the work the team did over the winter. Today we did some long runs in race setup and the car was pretty fast, pretty consistent. It was good to work more with (race engineer) Tom (Smith). We are working well together. I think we are going to do well this season."
The test began on Wednesday and Bourdais completed 250 miles (152 laps) with a best time of 49.9 while Junqueira completed 240 miles (145 laps) with a best lap time of 50.3. With rain forecast for the afternoon today the team ran through lunch and until approx. 3 p.m. when rain began falling. Once the rain stopped 45 minutes later, Bourdais performed pit stop practice until torrential rain began at approx. 4:15 p.m. ET and ended all activity. Both Bourdais and Junqueira ran 175 miles each today with Bourdais setting a best lap time of 50.1 and Junqueira a 50.2.
Newman/Haas Racing will participate in their final pre-season test next week when they run at The California Speedway's road course on March 29-30 prior to the season-opening race the following weekend. Bourdais will attempt to become the first open-wheel driver to earn three consecutive titles since Ted Horn accomplished the feat from 1946-1948 while Junqueira will attempt to keep him from accomplishing the feat by earning his maiden title. The Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season-opening Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will take place April 7-9, 2006.
Newman/Haas Racing LLC, owned by actor/race car driver Paul Newman and racing entrepreneur Carl A. Haas, is the most successful team competing in the Champ Car World Series and second most successful open-wheel racing team overall. Marlboro Team Penske has 124 open-wheel wins in 39 seasons while NHR has 90 in 24 seasons. The team will begin their 24th season in Champ Car competition in 2006 and will attempt to score their seventh overall title after winning 90 races and 92 pole positions. Current drivers Sebastien Bourdais and Bruno Junqueira were preceded at the team by Mario and Michael Andretti, Nigel Mansell, Paul Tracy, Christian Fittipaldi and Cristiano da Matta as well as 2005 driver Oriol Servia. For more information log on to www.newman-haas.com, www.brunojunqueira.com, www.sebastien-bourdais.com, or www.champcarworldseries.com.