Phoenix -- Team Target's dynamic rookie duo of Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian spent Feb. 26-28 testing at the 1.25-mile road course at Firebird International Raceway in Phoenix, concluding a busy off-season, in which they combined to log...
Phoenix -- Team Target's dynamic rookie duo of Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian spent Feb. 26-28 testing at the 1.25-mile road course at Firebird International Raceway in Phoenix, concluding a busy off-season, in which they combined to log more than 4,200 miles.
Target Chip Ganassi Racing kicked off its final test with pit stop practice on Monday, while Tuesday and Wednesday were spent focusing on the race setup for the March 11 Monterrey Grand Prix in Monterrey, Mexico. Junqueira and Minassian split the testing duties, with both racers driving 160 miles before rain moved in on Wednesday afternoon. The team tested with a combination of light fuel loads and full tank runs to give the rookies a sense of how the car reacts throughout a race.
"Both Nicolas and Bruno are good at learning from their mistakes, and they've improved with each test," said Mike Hull, the team's managing director. "That can be attributed to their hard work and attention to detail. Ricky (Davis, Bruno's chief mechanic) and Dave (Higuera, Nicolas' chief mechanic) have been a big help, getting them comfortable with pit stops and continuing to teach them about their cars. We're as prepared as we can be, so I have a good feeling heading into the first race."
Junqueira, the 2000 FIA International 3000 Series champion is excited that the next time he slides into the cockpit of his Toyota-Lola he'll be on the track in Monterrey.
"I can't wait to get back in my car and on the racetrack," Junqueira said. "I've heard that it's a very competitive track, with a lot of places to pass. We worked a lot on race setup for Monterrey over the last couple of days, so I think we're ready. It seems like a long time ago that we were here in Phoenix trying out for Team Target. It will be a good feeling to finally race."
Minassian, the runner-up to Junqueira in last year's F3000 Series, echoed his new teammate's enthusiasm about the upcoming season.
"I'm having dreams about seeing the green flag waving and taking my first lap, so I think that's a sign that I'm ready," Minassian said. "With the race coming up next week in Mexico, it was very important to find a good race setup for that track, and I think we have accomplished that. We've worked hard in the off-season. Now the fun part begins."
Target Chip Ganassi Racing returns to its race shop in Indianapolis this week for final preparations before the engines rev to life in Monterrey, signaling the start of the 2001 CART FedEx Series.
- Team Target