CHAMPCAR/CART: Weather hinders Fittipaldi's first 2001 Toyota-Lola test

SEBRING, Fla. (December 19, 2000) --- Newman/Haas Racing's first day of testing their 2001 racing combination of a Toyota-powered Lola chassis was cut short due to inclement weather. The test was the first for the team with the new 2001 Lola...

SEBRING, Fla. (December 19, 2000) --- Newman/Haas Racing's first day of testing their 2001 racing combination of a Toyota-powered Lola chassis was cut short due to inclement weather. The test was the first for the team with the new 2001 Lola chassis as they prepare for the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series.

Brazilian Christian Fittipaldi, hot off of a victory in the FedEx Championship series season finale in Fontana, Calif., was behind the wheel for the inaugural test of the 2001 Toyota-Lola and was pleased with the progress the chassis manufacturer has made with the new version.

"First impressions are always very important when testing a new race car," said Fittipaldi. "We ran 45 miles in the morning before the weather started to change and it got cold. When we first started, we immediately ran a 51.5 without making many changes to the car. We had too much oversteer in the set-up but overall I was immediately happy with the performance and know there is much more in the car. We didn't want to run the car in the cold conditions and it started sprinkling so we packed it up for the day early. The Toyota engine continues to impress us as well. I'm looking forward to putting more miles on the car during this test."

Testing will resume tomorrow with Fittipaldi scheduled for all three days.

Both Fittipaldi and new teammate Cristiano da Matta will spend the holidays in their homeland of Brazil before returning to the States for more testing and the CART Sneak Preview media event in Fontana, California (January 16-18), site of Fittipaldi's season-ending 500-mile victory.

The 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series season opener will take place on March 11 in Monterrey, Mexico. The series will compete in 22 races in eight countries around the world in 2001.

Newman-Haas.com, FITTIPALDIonline.com. damatta.com (Portuguese only)

-NHR-

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Series INDYCAR