CHAMPCAR/CART: Patrick Racing Sebring Spring Training notes 2003-02-07

Servia tops speed charts when team leaves track. JACKSON, MI - - FEBRUARY 7, 2003 - - Visteon/Patrick Racing had an outstanding Spring Training, February 4-6, at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida as the team continued its ...

Servia tops speed charts when team leaves track.

JACKSON, MI - - FEBRUARY 7, 2003 - - Visteon/Patrick Racing had an outstanding Spring Training, February 4-6, at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida as the team continued its preparation for the start of the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford.

Driver Oriol Servia, in the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing entry, which is powered by Ford-Cosworth with a Lola chassis and Bridgestone tires, was one of the dominant drivers during the three days of testing. Servia was the quickest in two of the three individual sessions he ran and topped the combined speed charts when the team packed up following the morning practice session on Thursday, February 6.

Teams were split into two groups of nine drivers each and alternated sessions throughout the three days of practice. Group #1 went out in the morning on Tuesday, February 4, while Visteon/Patrick Racing ran with Group #2 in the afternoon. Servia placed third in the primary car, and fourth in the backup car, in his group. His fast time of 51.796 seconds (116.879 mph) put him fifth on the day's combined practice report.

After analyzing the data Visteon/Patrick Racing Director of Engineering, Steve Challis, made some changes to the car and on Wednesday, February 5, the team came out firing on all cylinders. Group #2 went out first on Wednesday and Servia ran a quick time of 50.940 seconds (117.951 mph) placing him at the top of the speed charts for the session. After Group #2 ran that afternoon Visteon/Patrick Racing had the fasted overall time and topped the combined two-day practice report.

The final day of testing was on Thursday and featured two sessions, one for each group, in the morning and two in the afternoon. Visteon/Patrick Racing ran in just their morning practice session and once again was the fastest in their group with a time of 51.130 seconds (117.512 mph). Following the conclusion of the second group's morning practice Servia's Wednesday time of 50.940 was still the quickest.

Because Visteon/Patrick Racing is schedule to run today on the road course at Homestead Speedway the team had decided to forego the afternoon round of practices. During afternoon practice two drivers from Group #1 and one from Group #2 managed to turn faster laps dropping Servia to fourth on the final combined Spring Training practice report.

"I am just happy the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team was as quick as we were," Servia said. "We made a lot of progress over the three days and I am happy with the way the car felt. The Visteon/Patrick Racing crew did a very good job preparing the car and I am pleased with how well (new engineer) Steve Challis and I worked together. We have developed a good chemistry on the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team and we took a big step forward these last three day. I think the success we enjoyed at Spring Training was good for the team," Servia concluded.

Visteon/Patrick Racing General Manager, Jim McGee was equally pleased with the Spring Training results saying, "This was a very good test for the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team. The car ran flawlessly and we made steady progress throughout the test. I was pleased with the Ford-Cosworth engine and Bridgestone gave us a very consistent and durable tire."

McGee concluded by saying, "The Visteon/Patrick Racing crew did an excellent job preparing the car and Steve Challis and his group gave us a good car right off the transporter. I also feel that Oriol did an excellent job working with the team and the engineers to get a quick and consistent car for right now. Now we go to Homestead to continue our road course testing in preparation for the start of the 2003 Champ Car World Series season at St. Petersburg."

Visteon/Patrick Racing will test today, Friday, February 7, on the road course at Homestead Speedway in Homestead, Florida.

-ppr-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Oriol Servia