IPS: IRL: 2003 Test in the West set for February at California, Phoenix

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2002 - The annual Indy Racing League Test In The West will take place Feb. 3-8, 2003, with testing at California Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway for the second consecutive year. It's the first Open...

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2002 - The annual Indy Racing League Test In The West will take place Feb. 3-8, 2003, with testing at California Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway for the second consecutive year.

It's the first Open Test of the year for IRL teams and drivers, who will race with new chassis and engine packages in 2003. It also will be the first official Open Test for new IRL engine manufacturers Honda and Toyota and new IRL chassis manufacturer Falcon.

Drivers and teams from the Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series, the IRL's development series, also will test at both facilities.

"The 2002 Test In The West set the tone for a great Indy Racing League season this past year," said Brian Barnhart, Indy Racing League senior vice president of operations. "There was a full paddock of cars and lots of off-track news, as well. We anticipate the 2003 Test In The West will be the kickoff to another great season."

The test starts Monday, Feb. 3 with a Media Day featuring IRL and Infiniti Pro Series drivers and Infiniti Pro Series on-track testing at California Speedway, located in Fontana, Calif. The Toyota Indy 400, the second annual IRL event at California Speedway, will take place Sept. 19-21 at the 2-mile oval.

IRL drivers will test Tuesday, Feb. 4 at California before IRL and Pro Series teams head to Phoenix on Wednesday, Feb. 5, a travel day.

The Test In The West will continue Thursday, Feb. 6 at Phoenix International Raceway with Infiniti Pro Series testing on the 1-mile desert oval. IRL testing will take place Friday, Feb. 7 and Saturday, Feb. 8 at PIR, located in the Phoenix suburb of Avondale, Ariz.

The eighth annual IRL event at Phoenix will take place March 21-23. PIR is the only track besides the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that has played host to an IRL event every year of the league's existence.

"In 2003, the league is rolling out a new chassis and engine formula, which will bring added importance to the Test In The West," Barnhart said. "California Speedway will be a good place for the teams to shake down the cars and see what kind of speed is in the new package. Then, Phoenix will allow the teams to really dial in the cars with different set-ups.

"Both facilities prepare for the test like an event, and that allows for a productive test by teams and officials."

The 2003 Indy Racing League Test In The West schedule:

Date Activity Site
Feb. 3 Media Day, Infiniti Pro Series testing California Speedway
Feb. 4 Indy Racing League testing California Speedway
Feb. 5 Travel day
Feb. 6 Infiniti Pro Series testing Phoenix International Raceway
Feb. 7 Indy Racing League testing Phoenix International Raceway
Feb. 8 Indy Racing League testing Phoenix International Raceway

-irl-

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Series INDYCAR , INDYLIGHTS