New And Advanced 2002 Reynard Chassis Impresses Team Player's Driver Patrick Carpentier In His First Off-Season Testing Session
Sebring, Florida, December 20, 2001 Off-season testing officially began for Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier this week as he completed a two-day session on the 1.72-mile Sebring road course using the newly arrived 2002 edition of the Player's Reynard Champ car.
Carpentier ran about 50 laps over the two-day session, clocking a competitive fast lap of 51.8 seconds. Team Player's had hoped to put in more laps during the two days but its track time was reduced by inclement weather on Tuesday and Carpentier's skid off the circuit while going for a fast lap on Wednesday.
"I was out on new tires and the car was loose going into the corner," explained Carpentier. "I broke a bit late and the car went off the track. It was nothing serious. I had said earlier that if there's one thing I want to work on during off-season testing, it's being aggressive every time I'm out there on the track. I was being aggressive, and that may have contributed to the car going off course."
Carpentier described the 2002 Reynard chassis as being better built and more advanced than the previous model. "I got the feeling today that it's more solid," he explained. "There is still some work to do and we'll have the opportunity to do that over the coming months. I'm happy that the CART series has extended off-season testing in the month of March, after the first race in Monterrey. That's going to give us more time to get everything in order with the car."
Team Player's technical director Bruce Ashmore said the biggest improvement to the 2002 chassis is in the sidewall of the tub, where 2½ millimetres of carbonfiber have been added. This is a safety measure that has resulted from the accident involving CART driver Alex Zanardi in Germany last September.
Assessing the two-day Team Player's testing session, Ashmore said "we were able to give the car a good shakedown, and I thought we made some good progress in getting to know how the car reacts under various circumstances. Even having the car go off track on Day 2 of the sessions wasn't a bad thing because we needed to give the suspension a good testing.
Carpentier made his first appearance on the track since undergoing laser surgery a few weeks ago to correct a vision problem. He reported that his vision was fine and that he felt his depth perception had improved. Following the Christmas break, Carpentier is heading to HPI (High Performance Institute) in Charlotte, North Carolina for his annual series of physical fitness tests.
The next testing session for Team Player's is on the same Sebring road course, January 22-23.