CHAMPCAR/CART: Rocketsports Sebring test wrap-up

ROCKETSPORTS SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETES THREE DAY RUN IN SEBRING EAST LANSING, Michigan (January 26, 2007) -- Rocketsports Racing and driver Alex Tagliani successfully completed three full days of testing in Sebring, Florida this week. Together they...

ROCKETSPORTS SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETES THREE DAY RUN IN SEBRING

EAST LANSING, Michigan (January 26, 2007) -- Rocketsports Racing and driver Alex Tagliani successfully completed three full days of testing in Sebring, Florida this week. Together they were able to run the Rocketsports Panoz DP01 Champ Car for the first time without experiencing any major issues and gaining the knowledge they need to move forward in preparation for the 2007 Champ Car season.

Tuesday marked the first day the team and Tagliani turned laps in the new Panoz DP01 Champ Car. Tagliani completed 27 laps and posted a time of 52.854 (113.679 mph) during the first day of testing. Wednesday saw the #8 Rocketsports car complete 32 laps around the 1.669-mile road course at Sebring International Raceway, recording a faster time of 51.973 (115.606 mph). Thursday resulted in the team's best effort after running 72 laps and posting a 51.837 (115.909 mph), their best time recorded during the three-day test. The team completed 131 laps and logged over 218 miles during their first run in 2007.

"We lost time on Thursday in the morning because of the weather conditions, but I feel that we were able to make up for that in the afternoon and the overall result from the last three days was positive," said Tagliani. "We made a good amount of progress on Thursday afternoon because we were able to spend a lot of time working on the car and running laps. We got to a point where we felt that we had a car that we could make faster, but we just ran out of time. It is too bad that we could not have gotten to that point two days ago, but at least we got there and we know what we want to achieve in the next test.

"Overall we made good progress and this first test was a positive experience for the team," continued Tagliani as he reflected on the overall three-day test. "Considering the Rocketsports crew worked very hard up to the last minute to have the car ready to run, they did an excellent job because we had no major issues. With that being said, we can feel confident in the #8 Cosworth/DP01/Bridgewstone car because it is important to have all the bits & pieces working well. This test gave us the information that we needed to help us prepare for the next test by giving us a better idea of what to expect with the new Champ Car and how to make it even quicker. I think we are in good shape, and I look forward to getting back out there in the Panoz DP01 in Houston."

Before the test, mixed feelings were evident in the East Lansing-based shop. There was a genuine excitement for the first running of the new Panoz DP01 Champ Car, but there were also some concerns that arose on how it would perform since it was a brand new racecar. Those concerns were quickly put at ease as the #8 Rocketsports Cosworth/Panoz DP01/Bridgestone was reliable during all three days of on-track activity.

"It was a good start," said Rocketsports Team Manager Phil Howard. "The team worked very hard preparing for this test and we were able to run all three days with out any major mechanical issues. We went through some teething problems, but we were able to work those out. It was a positive first run with the new chassis, and we now look forward to testing again in February to progress on the things we learned from our first run."

Rocketsports Racing will be back on track next month for the second-of-three Champ Car Open Tests in preparation for the 2007 Champ Car season opener in Las Vegas on April 8. The team will head south to the Lone Star State to participate in the two-day test, February 12-13, which will be held at the Mercedes Benz of Sugar Land Road Course, located just outside of Houston, Texas.

-credit: rocketsports racing

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Alex Tagliani