Justin and NHLR eager to get 2008 season underway
Justin and Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) make their debut in the unified IndyCar Series this weekend. The 2008 season begins under the lights on Saturday night with the GAINSCO Auto Insurance Indy 300 on the 1.5-mile, variable banked Homestead Miami Speedway in Florida.
This will be Justin's fifth year of open wheel racing in North America and the 26th season of competition for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing. But the short time frame of one month to make the transition from Champ Car and prepare for their debut in the IndyCar Series has forced Justin and the team to have realistic expectations this season. New for 2008 will be learning the nuances and inner workings of the IndyCar Series - on track and off - as well as learning new race equipment and new tracks. However, they remain as determined as ever to get to the front.
For Justin, who will pilot the No. 02 McDonald's entry, Homestead Miami will be his sixth career oval race. "I'm extremely happy to be driving for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing," he said. "I could not hope to be with a better team, especially while the teams are making this transition. We're going to be racing against some of the top teams in the business so we're not kidding ourselves about how steep a learning curve we're facing. I believe Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing has what it takes to win."
Justin's last oval race was in 2006, when he finished second at the Milwaukee Mile. He tested at Homestead Miami Speedway earlier this week with team-mate Graham Rahal and the pair turned a combined total of 184 laps, gaining confidence in the car ahead of this weekend's event.
"With the two-day weekend it will be easy to feel pressured into going quick", said Justin. "That's when you end up in trouble. The plan is to stay calm, be patient and make small, positive steps."
Justin talks in more detail about the transition to the IndyCar Series in the latest Justin's View on www.justinwilson.co.uk.
Practice and qualifying for the GAINSCO Auto Insurance Indy 300 take place on Friday and the race itself will be televised live on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. ET Saturday, March 29. Viewers in the UK will find live coverage of the event on Sky Sports 2 from midnight UK time on Saturday, while Channel Five will show highlights of the event on April 7 at 04.20 UK time.
IndyCar Race Control at www.indycar.com features live timing and scoring and in-car video (annual subscription required).