CHAMPCAR/CART: NHR, Bourdais first pre-season test report

BOURDAIS COMPLETED FIRST CHAMP CAR TEST SINCE BECOMING DOUBLE CHAMPION CHANDLER, Ariz. (February 17, 2006) -- Two-time Champ Car World Series champion Sebastien Bourdais got back behind the wheel of his No. 1 McDonald's Ford-Lola-Bridgestone...

BOURDAIS COMPLETED FIRST CHAMP CAR TEST SINCE BECOMING DOUBLE CHAMPION

CHANDLER, Ariz. (February 17, 2006) -- Two-time Champ Car World Series champion Sebastien Bourdais got back behind the wheel of his No. 1 McDonald's Ford-Lola-Bridgestone race car for the first time in three months for a two day test at the 1.25-mile Firebird East race track which concluded today. Bourdais was happy to officially end his off-season and begin preparation to attempt to be the first to earn a third consecutive open-wheel racing title since Ted Horn accomplished the feat almost 60 years ago from 1946-1948.

"It felt good to get back behind the wheel and dust off the cobwebs," said Bourdais, who shares a birth date, among other things, with former NHR driver Mario Andretti later this month on February 28. "I have quite a few sore spots on my body and they are a little painful but it's a good pain. It was more like a wake-up test but we were surprised by how many interesting things we discovered to pursue with the race car."

The test began yesterday but the team ran less than 50 miles therefore the day does not count against their total of three allowable test days per driver. Bourdais got back behind the wheel today and completed 186 laps (232.5 miles) with a best lap time of 46.52.

"We came here to get both Sebastien and the McDonald's team reacclimated and the test was trouble-free," said Kenny Siwieck, assistant team manager of Newman/Haas Racing. "We went through a list of items to test and we also practiced hot pit stops. The favorable conditions on track and with the weather helped deem this test a success."

Newman/Haas Racing will resume testing in mid-March when both Sebastien Bourdais and Bruno Junqueira will test at Sebring International Raceway before concluding their pre-season testing on the road course at The California Speedway March 29-30. 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. Bourdais won the event in 2005 while Junqueira finished third.

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 38 seasons while NHR has 90 in 23 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.

-nhr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Bruno Junqueira , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Nigel Mansell , Mario Andretti , Paul Newman , Sébastien Bourdais , Cristiano da Matta
Teams Team Penske