CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Rahal Homestead test notes

Team Rahal wraps up first champ car oval test Of 2002 HILLIARD, OH . . .CART franchise member Team Rahal wrapped up the team's first oval test for the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series season with two-days on track this week at Miami/Homestead...

Team Rahal wraps up first champ car oval test Of 2002

HILLIARD, OH . . .CART franchise member Team Rahal wrapped up the team's first oval test for the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series season with two-days on track this week at Miami/Homestead Speedway. During the two-day test both Shell driver Jimmy Vasser and Gigante driver Michel Jourdain Jr. logged time in their Ford-Cosworth powered Lola's on the south Florida oval.

Combined the two Team Rahal drivers ran nearly 650-miles during the test, posting some of the fastest times (unofficially) recorded over the two-days. Vasser posted a fast lap of 26.4 seconds on Thursday and Jourdain Jr. collected a fast lap of 26.9 also on Thursday.

"It was a very productive test," said Team Rahal Technical Coordinator Ray Leto. "We had a strong oval program last year and we were anxious to see how the off season improvements made by Lola and Ford-Cosworth would respond on the track. Over the course of the test at Homestead we never tried to set-up the car for an optimum run at Homestead, but instead we focused on testing the changes that will be important at Japan, Milwaukee, Chicago and the European tracks. Posting the laps we did while never optimizing the car for the track we were on gives us a good indication that our program is on course."

Team Rahal dominated on the oval tracks during the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series. In eight oval races Team Rahal posted four wins and four runner-up results, including a 1-2 sweep at Germany, and only once (Michigan) failed to collect a top-two result.

"Team Rahal showed they had one of the strongest oval programs in the series last season and it is our intention to maintain that strength this season," said Shell driver and 1996 CART champion Jimmy Vasser. "We have focused the majority of our winter testing on the road courses preparing on our first couple of races, but also because of the strength of the team's oval program."

"It felt good to log some miles on the ovals after having focused strictly on the road and street courses," said Gigante driver Michel Jourdain Jr. "I hadn't been on an oval since Fontana last November but we found the rhythm quickly. After we get past Long Beach (April 12-14) we are looking at the next two races (Twin Ring Motegi and Milwaukee) being on ovals so it was important for me to get some track time with the team to get acclimated to the oval set-up."

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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Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Bobby Rahal , Michel Jourdain