CHAMPCAR/CART: PKV Racing Sebring open test notes

PKV Racing's First Test a Success INDIANAPOLIS, IN - - FEBRUARY 7, 2005 - - PKV Racing came away from its first test in preparation for the 2005 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series season pleased with the progress they made during...

PKV Racing's First Test a Success

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - - FEBRUARY 7, 2005 - - PKV Racing came away from its first test in preparation for the 2005 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series season pleased with the progress they made during three-days of testing, February 4-6, at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida.

Under the watchful eyes of owners Kevin Kalkhoven and Dan Pettit as well as Team Manager Jim McGee, Jimmy Vasser, pilot of the #12 Gulfsteam/PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone machine did extensive testing while the recently signed Cristiano da Matta, who will be behind the wheel of the #21 PKV Racing entry, ran what amounted to a "shakedown" session on Friday.

"It was a good test," PKV Racing General Manager Jim McGee said. "Cristiano only ran part of the day on Friday because of his commitment to the Daytona 24-hour race, but it gave him an opportunity to reacquaint himself with a Champ Car. Jimmy tested the next two days and even though we were made a lot of changes and tried several different configurations, he ran a quick time of 50.99 seconds, which was among the leaders," noted McGee. "Overall, I am very pleased with the results of the test. We made extensive progress with our aerodynamic and mechanical programs and we feel we improved in a lot of areas that will help us during the upcoming season. The PKV Racing cars ran very well and we are very satisfied with what we accomplished," concluded McGee.

Da Matta, who officially joined PKV Racing on February 1, drove to Sebring from Daytona were he was preparing to team with Sebastien Bourdais and Paul Newman in the Rolex 24. The 2002 Series Champion, who was driving a Champ Car for the first time in 27 months after spending the last two seasons in Formula One, was limited to 36 miles of testing.

"I can't say that I am completely comfortable in the Champ Car because we only ran 30 laps, but I don't think that it will take much longer," da Matta said. "We put in some good work on Friday, got a lot of little things done, like adjusting the pedals, so that at the next test, we will be ready to go hard right away, he noted. "I am impressed with this team already and the chance to work with guys like Jimmy Vasser and Jim McGee makes me believe that we can do some good things this year," concluded da Matta.

Vasser, who won the championship in 1996 and is a part owner of the team, ran 175 miles on Saturday and approximately the same number on Sunday. While focusing on aerodynamic and mechanical development, he was still able to run very competitive times. Unofficially, Vasser was third fastest on Saturday with a quick time of 51.24 seconds and within a few hundredths of a second of second fastest on Sunday with a time of 50.99 seconds.

"We have a lot of new programs and new people in place at PKV Racing this year," Vasser began. "Even with the changes I feel that PKV Racing is very competitive right now," he said. "I've been on winning teams in my career and success has never been because of any special parts on the car. The teams that do well are the ones that have great chemistry and handle themselves professionally. That is something that Jim McGee brings to the team," Vasser explained.

Next up for PKV Racing is a two-day test with da Matta on the Homestead road course February 17-18, followed by a test with both drivers on the Fontana road course tentatively scheduled for March 7-9.

Founded in January 2003, Indianapolis-based PKV Racing will field a two-car effort during the 2005 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season. The third-year team is owned by successful venture capitalists Kevin Kalkhoven, who also co-owns the Champ Car World Series, and Dan Pettit, along with 1996 Series Champion Jimmy Vasser, who drives the #12 Gulfstream/PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone entry. The second car, the #21 PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone machine, is piloted by 2002 Series Champion Cristiano da Matta. PKV Racing is managed by the most successful Manager/Chief Mechanic in USAC/CART/Champ Car history, Jim McGee, who has amassed 89 victories and nine national championships.

For more information please visit: www.pkvracing.com or www.gulfstream.com.

-pkv-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Paul Newman , Kevin Kalkhoven , Cristiano da Matta