Sebring, FL -- PacWest Racing was plagued by problems during a scheduled FedEx Championship Series pre-season test that was cut short to avoid a 50-mile limit rule at Sebring today.
Under the 2000 CART testing rules, a team is allowed one day where if it runs less than a total of 50 miles the session is not counted as one of its allotted tests, according to Team Manager Russell Cameron.
"We ran just under 49 miles and it was almost the end of the day," said Cameron. "We decided to pack it away and save the test day. "We spent the down time working on the gearboxes and working on the seat positions in these new cars. Obviously we would have liked to have been out on the track, but the day was not a total waste."
Driver Mark Blundell was quite philosophical about the entire day despite the problems which left him enjoying the Florida sunshine in the pits in a tee-shirt rather than his Motorola driving suit.
"I guess you could say it has been a particularly easy day for me, but hopefully it will be nothing like that tomorrow," said Blundell. "A team never wants to have one of these days, but better it happens here than at the race track. There was nothing good or bad to report, just one of those days really. "I am certainly looking forward to getting amongst it tomorrow and clocking some reasonable lap times."
PacWest Racing's Indy Lights program also struggled at Sebring today with crank trigger problems seeing Tony Renna's car pulled apart twice during the session.
Renna and Scott Dixon did about 140 laps between them as team boss Paul "Ziggy" Harcus worked on driver-engineer combinations.
"We worked on things like springs and shocks and swapped the driver and engineer combinations around a bit," said Harcus. "We would have liked to have done more laps with both drivers, but we will have another go tomorrow. We will experiment a bit with diff (differential) ratios tomorrow and see where we end up.
"Our times were OK today, but it will be nice to get an uninterrupted run to see where we really are."