CHAMPCAR/CART: Sneak Preview Team Rahal testing recap

Team Rahal Concludes Testing at CART Sneak Preview MONTEREY, CA . . . Testing for the first time as a two car team in 2002, Team Rahal put both drivers through two days of testing at the CART Sneak Preview at historic Laguna Seca Raceway in ...

Team Rahal Concludes Testing at CART Sneak Preview

MONTEREY, CA . . . Testing for the first time as a two car team in 2002, Team Rahal put both drivers through two days of testing at the CART Sneak Preview at historic Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California. Team Rahal drivers Jimmy Vasser and Michel Jourdain Jr. logged nearly 800 miles during the two days as the team continued to gain familiarity with the Lola B2/00 chassis and the 2002 version of the Ford-Cosworth XF engine and how that package interacts with the new Bridgestone Potenza tires that all CART teams will utilize in 2002.

Shell driver Jimmy Vasser continued his preparations for his championship quest building on his two previous tests at Sebring Raceway in Florida. Vasser logged a fast lap of 114.578 mph during the morning session on the second day of testing. The 1996 CART champion, Vasser is expected to spearhead Team Rahal's championship hopes in 2002. Team Rahal won more races (6) and led more laps (843) last season than any other CART team.

Michel Jourdain Jr. made his Team Rahal testing debut in the Gigante car and showed little effects from his not having driven a Champ Car since the 2001 CART finale at Fontana. Jourdain was 14th quick overall on the weekend with a fast lap of 115.000 mph, which he turned during the final testing session.

"Our times don't look as good as what we had hoped for but we did make some significant progress," said Vasser. "I had a fast lap in the 69's [seconds] this morning but the car slid off in turn 11. We ran all of the developmental parts that we wanted to try and the only thing that stopped us was we ran out of tires after running so many miles. This was Michel's first test with Team Rahal and we both tried some new parts looking for the right combination. I know everybody will look at the timing sheets, and that is important to some degree, but I have been around this series long enough to know that you have to stay with your testing program."

"This was a very exciting weekend for me," said Michel Jourdain Jr. "Working with an experienced and professional team like Team Rahal is simply amazing. I know I have been out of the car for a few months and that I have to shake off the rust as a driver, but we learned so much in just two days that I am very optimistic about my future here at Team Rahal. We still have a long way to go but with engineers like Ray Leto and Tim Reiter guiding me my learning curve will be faster."

Team Rahal is tentatively scheduled to test next at Miami Homestead Speedway on February 21 and 22 on the road course. The two-day test in southern-Florida will serve as the team's final tune-up for the CART season opener in Monterrey, Mexico (March 8-10).

Team Rahal is a franchise member of Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART). Headquartered in Hilliard, Ohio, the team owned by three-time CART Champion Bobby Rahal and CBS LATE SHOW host David Letterman, currently fields a pair of Championship Cars for 1996 CART champion Jimmy Vasser and Michel Jourdain Jr. in the CART FedEx Championship Series and an entry for Vasser in the Indianapolis 500. The 65-member team enjoys primary sponsorship from the Shell Oil Company and the Gigante Group in CART and the Miller Brewing Company for the Indy 500.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Bobby Rahal , Michel Jourdain