Fernandez Completes First IRL IndyCarÂ® Series Test Adrian Fernandez gained valuable seat time toward his IRL IndyCar Series campaign today, returning to Phoenix International Raceway for his first test day in the ...
Fernandez Completes First IRL IndyCar® Series Test
Adrian Fernandez gained valuable seat time toward his IRL IndyCar Series campaign today, returning to Phoenix International Raceway for his first test day in the #5 Quaker State/Telmex/Tecate Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone.
Fernandez turned a total of 157 laps around the one-mile oval during a manufacturer's test day which also included fellow Honda-powered drivers Tony Kanaan, Bryan Herta, Roger Yasukawa and Buddy Rice. This was the first testing opportunity Fernandez has had since Fernandez Racing announced its IndyCar Series program on March 11. Private team testing was eliminated January 1, and all IndyCar Series testing is conducted via IRL-sanctioned Open Tests with engine manufacturers allowed three days of testing for full-time teams that use their engines.
Fernandez took his first laps behind the wheel of the #5 machine in opening practice for the Indy 200 Copper World Classic on March 19. Fernandez qualified 13th for his IndyCar Series debut, but was out early with a broken gearbox -- a factor of his quick learning curve and limited seat time.
Fernandez Racing is busy preparing for Round Three of the 2004 schedule -- the Bridgestone Indy Japan 300 on April 17. Fernandez is a two-time winner on the 1.5-mile oval, claiming victory at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit in 1998 and 1999 in CART competition. The team will be unveiling its new 2004 paint scheme during the Japan race weekend.
Adrian Fernandez, #5 Quaker State/Telmex/Tecate Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone:
"We had a really good test. We had the opportunity to learn more in a relaxed manner. We did a lot of work for Honda and some for ourselves with the chassis. I was able to practice restarts, and the issue like we had at the Phoenix race. The gearbox is very critical and you have to be careful; I learned what areas to be careful. It was very hot but it was good to test under these conditions. We were also able to work more on adjusting my seat and, while this is not the final seat, it is a good improvement and I am sitting probably an inch-and-a-half to two inches lower in the car now.
"This was our last test before Japan. On the whole, we are not quite there yet but we learned a lot today and I think we will be competitive in Japan."
John Ward, Race Engineer:
"Ultimately it was a good day. We had a pretty hard time making gains initially. We were trying to find some areas that the car was sensitive to and we finally did. We did quite a bit of work for Honda, and we made progress in knowing more about what the car wants. We came into the test knowing we would have to make some gains to catch up to the competition, and we did make some gains. We are definitely moving forward."