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.
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