Indianapolis, IN - PacWest Racing Group completed a successful "shakedown" test of their new Mercedes-Benz-powered Reynard Champ Car at Putnam Park, west of Indianapolis today.
During a five-hour period the car was driven more than 100 miles (160km) by 23-year-old PacWest Lights driver Tony Renna without any major problems.
The shakedown was carried out at Putnam Park because of its close proximity to the PacWest shop and was conducted in much colder conditions than usually experienced at winter pre-season tests at venues in Florida and Arizona.
The PacWest testing program will begin in earnest at Sebring, Florida with regular Champ Car driver Mauricio Gugelmin on December 9 and 10, according to Team Manager, Russell Cameron.
"Overall the day was very successful," said an enthusiastic Cameron.
"The cold weather restricted us from doing any real solid work on the chassis, but we certainly learned a few things which will help us in the next few weeks. We reached our goal of 100 miles with the new Mercedes-Benz engine, which is the most this new design has done in an actual race car."
The Mercedes-Benz engine used today will be shipped back to Ilmor's base in Detroit tonight and will be prepared for the first day of next week's Florida test.
Renna, who drove five Indy Lights races for PacWest this year before being signed for a full-time drive in 2000, conducted today's "shakedown" with the style of a seasoned professional.
"It was only a basic shakedown today, but everything felt good with the car," said the young American.
"I have to thank the team of guys at PacWest for having the faith in me to do the shakedown on a brand new car. Being involved with such tests certainly helps a young driver's confidence and gives me valuable time in the car.
"I hope I have provided plenty of feedback today in an effort to sort the car a little before "Mo" (Mauricio Gugelmin) completes the next test in the car at Sebring."
For further information, please call: PacWest Racing Group - (317) 297-2500 Communications Manager - Brett Murray (317) 714-7272 Communications Coordinator - Ashleigh Higgins (317) 714-6377
ALL ABOUT THE REYNARD 2KI
* The 2KI is a development of the championship winning 99I. The chassis, engine installation and gearbox are new designs, but are all very much based on the 98/99 components. The new aerodynamic rules for 2000 have had the most influence on the changes from the 99I to the 2KI, leading to revised gearbox, underfloor and sidepods.
* The chassis construction is of carbon/Kevlar skins with an aluminum honeycomb core. Chassis weight is around 60kgs and torsional stiffness approximately 20,000 foot-pounds per degree. The 2KI cockpit and driver have been lowered to have less frontal area for improved aerodynamics, and to have a lower center of gravity.
* The gearbox remains with the transverse layout introduced in 1997, keeping its ease of serviceability and carrying over many proven components, but it has been modified in many areas to aid the aerodynamics of the car, reduce the center of gravity, and to reduce the internal friction and power loss of the transmission.
* The internals of the gearbox and the complete selector mechanism are designed by Reynard in conjunction with Xtrac. Engine power is transmitted into the gearbox via a bevel gear and transfer gear arrangement, which then drives the transversely mounted gearshafts.
* The final drive to the wheels is passed through a differential set-up that is a development of the previous design. It has been designed with more adjustability, to allow teams to optimize its settings to suit different tires and driving styles.
* A gearbox oil-to-water heat exchanger has been retained on this car, giving good control of gearbox oil temperatures.
* The suspension features twin wishbones front and rear with pushrods operating the spring dampers via bellcranks. The anti-roll bar arrangement front and rear includes provision for running a third spring damper ride height control. Various suspension geometry options are available.
Type: Reynard 2KI Constructor: Reynard Motorsport Ltd - Designer: Barry Ward Weight: 703kg/1550lbs - Weight Distribution: 40% front; 60% rear Track: 1740mm front; 1640mm rear Wheelbase: 3037mm/119.5 inches Length: 4954mm/195 inches Height: 912mm/36inches Fuel Capacity 35 US gallons Steering: Reynard rack and pinion Turns: Lock to lock 1.4 Suspension & Running Gear: Twin wishbones front and rear with pushrods operating the spring dampers via bell cranks Brakes: Brembo Metal Matrix; Carbon Metallic pads