CHAMPCAR/CART: Spring Training Mercedes-Benz Wednesday Report

FedEx Championship Series Report Race: CART Spring Training, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead, Fla. Date/Session: Feb. 9, 2000 Mercedes-Benz Teams Get the New Season Rolling at CART Spring Training Mercedes-Benz teams ...

FedEx Championship Series Report

Race: CART Spring Training, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead, Fla.    
Date/Session:   Feb. 9, 2000    

Mercedes-Benz Teams Get the New Season Rolling at CART Spring Training

Mercedes-Benz teams began their quest for the 2000 CART FedEx Championship Series title as Spring Training got underway Wednesday at 1.502-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla. Teams powered by the three-pointed star's new IC108F V8 Champ Car engine used the open test sessions to work on their new packages and contend with the new speedway wing mandated by CART.

PacWest Racing led the four-car Mercedes-Benz contingent. Mauricio Gugelmin, driving his new red-and-white Nextel Mercedes Champ Car with full fuel loads and a race set-up, clocked a quick lap in 26.898 seconds (201.026 mph) for 10th best on the day, just 0.655 seconds behind Max Papis (26.243 seconds/206.044 mph). His teammate, Mark Blundell, was just ticks behind in his Motorola Mercedes with a best lap of 26.911 seconds (200.929 mph).

Tony Kanaan, piloting the new Mo Nunn Racing Mercedes entry for the first time on an oval, turned in a lap of 27.189 seconds (198.875 mph) which was quick enough for 15th place overall. Bettenhausen Herdez Mercedes driver Michel Jourdain Jr. lapped the speedway in 28.304 seconds (191.040 mph). The open test continues Thursday. The season-opening Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami will be contested March 26th.

Mercedes Quotes

Mauricio Gugelmin, No. 17, PacWest Nextel Mercedes/Firestone (10th/26.898 seconds) "This was a new chassis this morning, a brand new car. So today was more of a shakedown than anything. We worked with heavy fuel loads, and the car behaved very well. The preparation of the car was fantastic, and I feel pretty positive. We haven't run light yet, so we may do that tomorrow. But I also really want to do a long run with the car. "The new wing is definitely draggy. You have to maintain your cornering speeds, because if you back off at all, you never accelerate again."

Mark Blundell, No. 18, PacWest Motorola Mercedes/Firestone (11th/26.911 seconds) "Today was really enjoyable. I'm quite pleased. We've run heavy tanks, trying to dial in the car and deal with a slight understeer situation. The engine performed perfectly today. "Our team is very focused and happy. We all see the potential that we've got this year. It's a question of getting down to business and delivering."

Tony Kanaan, No. 55, Mo Nunn Racing Mercedes/Firestone (15th/27.189 seconds) "This team is still coming together, and quite frankly, we're taking our time to do it right. I'm very pleased with the way the day went for us. It was our first time ever (as a team) on an oval, so we were more concerned with ourselves than with our lap times. Tomorrow will be a different story. The Mercedes engine felt very comfortable and above all, competitive."

Michel Jourdain Jr., No. 16, Bettenhausen Herdez Mercedes/Firestone (25th/28.304 seconds) " It was our first time on this track with the car, and so today was a shakeout for us. We concentrated on building speed little by little. I'm very happy with our progress today because the car's balance is good and we ran very clean. I'm looking forward to more progress tomorrow."

Practice, CART Spring Training Homestead, Fla. Feb. 9, 2000

Pos.    Driver                  Engine          Time    Speed   
1       Max Papis               Ford Cosworth   26.243  206.044 
2       Kenny Brack             Ford Cosworth   26.483  204.176 
3       Patrick Carpentier      Ford Cosworth   26.576  203.462 
4       Michael Andretti        Ford Cosworth   26.604  203.248 
5       Juan Montoya            Toyota          26.646  202.927 
6       Alexandre Tagliani      Ford Cosworth   26.656  202.851 
7       Christian Fittipaldi    Ford Cosworth   26.719  202.373 
8       Paul Tracy              Honda           26.808  201.701 
9       Jimmy Vasser            Toyota          26.894  201.056 
10      Mauricio Gugelmin       Mercedes-Benz   26.898  201.026 
11      Mark Blundell           Mercedes-Benz   26.911  200.929 
15      Tony Kanaan             Mercedes-Benz   27.189  198.875 
25      Michel Jourdain Jr.     Mercedes-Benz   28.304  191.040 

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Max Papis , Patrick Carpentier , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Tony Kanaan , Mauricio Gugelmin , Kenny Brack , Mark Blundell , Michel Jourdain , Mo Nunn