ROCKETSPORTS RACING SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETES FIRST PRE-SEASON TEST
EAST LANSING, Mich. (December 15, 2005) - Rocketsports Racing headed down south to warmer weather to get some on-track time for a pre-season test in Sebring, Florida and successfully completed a two-day run with potential Champ Car drivers Richard Lyons and Katherine Legge.
It was the first time for both drivers to set foot behind the wheel of a 750-horsepowered Rocketsports Lola. Lyons tested the full day on Monday and put in a half day on Tuesday. Legge was with the team during the first test day working with Lyons and engineer John Gentilozzi to prepare for her run on Tuesday afternoon.
During the first day with Lyons in the car, the team was evaluating his ability and feel in the car. He completed a total of 136 laps (233 miles) with a quick time of 52.26. Since the 26-year-old Briton had previous open wheel experience, the team mainly focused on helping him adapt to the nature of a Champ Car. Lyons spent some time to get comfortable behind the wheel before the team proceeded with changes to the mechanical setup of the car, as well as, damper and aerodynamic settings.
"Richard was able to provide us with accurate, concise feedback," commented John Gentilozzi. "With more time in the car, and further changes to suit Richard's preferences, we would have continued to produce quicker lap times. Richard's skills and feeling for the car would be an asset to any team."
Rocketsports goal with Legge was to expose her to a Champ Car for the first time and give her an opportunity to feel how setup changes affect her. She completed 67 laps (115.24 miles) producing a fast time of 53.29. She was able to feel the changes that the team made and provided good feedback on how those changes felt. She was physically able to cope with the demanding 1.72-mile short course at Sebring International Raceway without a problem.
"It was very impressive how quickly she got up to speed," Gentilozzi said about Legge. "She was able to stay within a few tenths of her fast lap time throughout a longer run at the end of the day. Katherine has a very promising career ahead of her in open wheel racing."
"I was very impressed with both drivers," commented Rocketsports Team Manager Phil Howard. "Richard is a good driver. It took a little time to get him used to the car, and he tried braking with his left foot for the first time, so that also took some time for him to adapt to. If we would have had more time with him, I definitely think we would have seen faster times posted by him. He worked very well with the team and it was a pleasure having him around"
"Katherine was great," Howard said about testing female sensation Legge. "She has a great personality and is very focused. She obviously did not get a lot of time in the car, but she was working with the team both days we were testing. When she did get into the car, she did not make one mistake. She was learning the car and trying to find her comfort zone. After she ran some laps and got used to the car and track, we brought her in to make some changes. When she went back out after those changes, she immediately improved her time. She has great potential."