Rocketsports' Big Weekend at Road America No. 8 Alex Tagliani No. 17 Guy Smith ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (August 4, 2004) -- Rocketsports driver Alex Tagliani heads to the Grand Prix of Road America Presented by the Chicago Tribune with his new ...
Rocketsports' Big Weekend at Road America
No. 8 Alex Tagliani No. 17 Guy Smith
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (August 4, 2004) -- Rocketsports driver Alex Tagliani heads to the Grand Prix of Road America Presented by the Chicago Tribune with his new teammate, 2003 Le Man 24 Hours winner, Guy Smith. Tagliani and Smith will meet at the picturesque 4.048 mile road course for Round Eight of the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered By Ford. The Champ Car duo will join Rocketsports Trans-Am drivers, Tommy Kendall and Tomy Drissi, on Saturday evening for the Tour de Road America, bicycling fundraiser for the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
Driver of the No.8 Johnson Controls Lola, Tagliani is looking to make a trio of his consecutive podium finishes at Road America. He finished second in 2002 and third in 2003. In addition to his impressive podiums, Tagliani boasts three top-three qualifying efforts at the Wisconsin circuit, and posted the quickest time during test sessions at Road America in June of this year (1:44.54). Currently rounding out the top five in the Champ Car World Series standings, Tagliani has 120 points and anticipates a positive weekend.
"I'm excited about the Road America race because it's the most beautiful road course on the Champ Car schedule," said Tagliani. "I've always been quick here, and the No. 8 Johnson Controls car was quickest in testing here earlier this year. I've been waiting for this race to score some more good results for the Rocketsports team.
On a more technical note, Tagliani added, "the Road America circuit is the best place to demonstrate the new 'push to pass' feature that was introduced in Champ Cars this season. The push to pass will be most effective in the long straight-aways, but Road America is such a technical, high-speed course, there will be many opportunities to use the extra boost on the road course - even more than on a street course, so it will spice things up on the track. I'm looking forward to the weekend with many guests from Johnson Controls, which is based in Wisconsin, and show them an exciting race."
New to Rocketsports Racing, Guy Smith will pilot the No.17 Rocketsports Lola. The 2003 Le Mans 24 Hours Champion got an early start to the weekend with three and a half hours of testing on the permanent course. Eager to make his re-entry into Champ Cars, Smith was consistent in testing and enthusiastic about his new ride with Rocketsports.
"I couldn't ask for a better place or team to get reacquainted with Champ Cars and open-wheel racing. To join Rocketsports at Road America, will be a great experience. I have yet to race on the Road America circuit, but understand it to be fast and exciting, and one of the best in America.
"The Rocketsports crew has been great and have looked after me very well," added Smith. "My aim this weekend is to gain as much experience as possible and learn from this highly competitive team."
Under the direction of veteran team manager, Phil Howard, Smith completed pre-race testing with the Rocketsports crew, and got up to speed with the 750-horsepower Ford-Cosworth engine and the grip of Bridgestone Potenza tires.
"We're very pleased with Smith's handling and performance in the Champ Car," stated Howard. "He was fast and did a great job today in testing, especially considering this is a green track for him. He adapts quickly and will get comfortable in the Champ Car in no time."
The Rocketsports drivers invite race fans and biking enthusiasts to participate in the Tour de Road America with them on Saturday evening. Tagliani, Smith, Drissi and Kendall will step away from their motor vehicles to hop onto Trek bicycles for five laps around the four-mile track, in support of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, and make a difference in the cancer survivorship community. For more information about the Tour de Road America, visit www.tour-de-ra.org.