FedEx CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES HAPPENINGS Notes and Quotes from Championship Auto Racing Teams, December 1, 1999
Championship Auto Racing Teams released its testing blackout schedule for the 2000 FedEx Championship Series season last week, and the schedule includes a trio of Open Tests at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the Chicago Motor Speedway and Laguna Seca Raceway.
The three Open Tests have been scheduled in addition to CART's fifth annual Spring Training, which is slated for Feb. 8-10 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Fla. Mid-Ohio and Laguna Seca have perennially hosted Open Tests over the past several years while Chicago Motor Speedway will host its first CART Open Test after opening in 1999.
The Mid-Ohio date is the first of the Open Tests, scheduled for Wednesday, June 7 and Thursday June 8. The test is scheduled between Round 6 of the FedEx Championship Series, the June 4 Milwaukee Mile 225 and Round 7, the June 18 Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit. Mid-Ohio hosts Round 13 of the FedEx Championship Series, the Miller Lite 200, on Sunday, Aug. 13.
The Open Test at Chicago Motor Speedway takes place Thursday and Friday, July 6-7 that falls between Round 9, the July 2 Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by Firstar and Round 10, the July 16 Molson Indy Toronto. Chicago Motor Speedway then hosts Round 12 of the FedEx Championship Series, the Target Grand Prix of Chicago, on Sunday, July 30.
The Laguna Seca Open Test, which in past years has preceded the start of the FedEx Championship Series season, is scheduled for Thursday and Friday, Aug. 24 and 25, between Round 14, the Aug. 20 Road America 220 and Round 15, the Sept. 3 Molson Indy Vancouver. Laguna Seca hosts Round 16 of the FedEx Championship Series, the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey Featuring the Shell 300, on Sunday, Sept. 10.
Blackout days for 2000 testing include a seven-day window before and after all events contested outside North America; a five-day window before and after all 500-mile events; all days between events contested on consecutive weekends; and a two-day window before and after all holidays. Testing also closes two weeks before the race date at each specific FedEx Championship Series venue.
* SHOPPING TIPS
Shoppers stumped about what to purchase for that hard-to-buy-for race fan on their holiday shopping list may want to consider the variety of items currently up for bid during CART's Online Charity Auction at www.cart.com . The current is headlined by an authentic Champ Car chassis donated by the Forsythe Championship Racing Team, which carries a current bid of $44,500 and will be up for auction through Dec. 31. Other items of interest include a driver's suit belonging to former All American Racers driver Juan Fangio II, currently bidding at $500, a helmet belonging to an All American Racers pit crew member, bidding at $250 and an autographed Champ Car drivers' photo, bidding at $705. Proceeds from the Online Auction benefit CART Charities, and new items appear for bid regularly. To access the Online Auction, log on to www.cart.com/mainframeset.fhtml and click on the header marked "Featured Items" next to the "Charity Auction" graphic.
* PACWEST TAKES DELIVERY OF 2000 REYNARD
The PacWest Racing Group became the first FedEx Championship Series team to receive the 2000 Reynard 2KI on Monday, as the first chassis arrived at the team's Indianapolis race shop. Tony Renna, who drives for PacWest in the PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship, will give the chassis its first shakedown Thursday on the Putnam Park road course outside Indianapolis. From there, it will travel to Sebring International Raceway, where it will be tested by PacWest Champ Car drivers Mauricio Gugelmin on Dec. 9-10 and 20-21 and Mark Blundell on Jan 10-11. Gugelmin and Blundell were instrumental in the development of the new Reynard's gearbox, conducting more than 1,200 miles of transmission testing since August. "It looks like the new car is a major departure from previous Reynard chassis, and in conjunction with the new Mercedes-Benz engine, we're looking forward to some early testing to get to know the package," said John Anderson, PacWest's vice president of racing operations. " I'm optimistic that PacWest and our partners will really shake things up in the 2000 season." Blundell is looking forward to his first stint behind the wheel. "There is no substitute for testing, and being the first team to receive the new chassis is a definite bonus," he said. "The whole PacWest team is hungry to win, and I'm confident that we have the package and the people to return to victory lane."
* DELLA PENNA TO TEST SOUTH AMERICAN FORMULA 3 CHAMPION
For the second consecutive year, Della Penna Motorsports is providing the winner of the South American Formula 3 Championship with the opportunity to test drive a Champ Car. Hoover Orsi, a 21-year-old Brazilian, will test the team's Toyota-powered Reynard next Tuesday and Wednesday at Sebring International Raceway. Orsi won the 1999 South American Formula 3 title on the strength of four victories and 18 top-10 finishes in as many events. "The Firestone Formula 3 series is the top open-wheel series in Latin America and, being an Argentine native, I am proud to provide these drivers with the opportunity to showcase their talents to the CART community," said Della Penna Motorsports team owner John Della Penna. "Hoover Orsi has amazed me this season with his speed and consistency. I look forward to seeing him handle a Champ Car." Said Orsi, "Testing the Della Penna Motorsports Champ Car is going to be a thrill for me. This annual opportunity that John [Della Penna] has established for the Formula 3 champion brings a welcome awareness to the series and to Latin American driving talents like myself."
* ANDREW CRAIG FEATURED SPEAKER
CART Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Craig will deliver Friday's opening address during the Motor Sport Safety Symposium being conducted Thursday through Saturday at the Park Lane Hotel in Piccadilly, London. The symposium is jointly sponsored by the Federation International de L'Automobile (FIA) and the International Council of Motor Sports Sciences (ICMS), and is the first safety and research symposium organized jointly by the FIA and ICMS. CART Director of Medical Affairs Dr. Steve Olvey and Chief Orthopedic Consultant Dr. Terry Trammell will also be presenters at the event, which will be attended by CART Vice-President of Competition J. Kirk Russell.