IRL: CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Rahal's Sebring test, California race notes

Team Rahal wraps up busy week of testing Miller Lite Team runs IRL race preparing for Indy 500 HILLIARD, OH . . .CART franchise member Team Rahal wrapped up a busy week of in-season testing which saw Michel Jourdain Jr. and the Gigante team ...

Team Rahal wraps up busy week of testing
Miller Lite Team runs IRL race preparing for Indy 500

HILLIARD, OH . . .CART franchise member Team Rahal wrapped up a busy week of in-season testing which saw Michel Jourdain Jr. and the Gigante team testing at Sebring International Raceway and Jimmy Vasser and the Miller Lite Indianapolis 500 team enter the Indy Racing League race at California Speedway.

Rahal/Letterman Racing, the Indianapolis 500 entry of Team Rahal, entered the IRL event at Fontana to gain valuable track time in preparation for the team's entry in the Indianapolis 500 this May. The incident-free weekend saw Vasser finish ninth in the race and most importantly the team collected a vast array of data which will help them prepare for the challenge of the Indianapolis 500.

"We accomplished what we wanted to do here this weekend," said Bobby Rahal. "Sure, I'd have like to have raced for the win at the end, but our Miller Lite guys have been on a tough mission lately. Our goal for the weekend was to find out as much as possible about these cars. We were great on our pit stops and Jimmy did a solid job behind the wheel. We know that Indy is much different than here in terms of the engine and handling settings. We can go to the Speedway in a few weeks and get more information. I think we'll be ready when the Speedway opens in the first week in May. I'm excited to go back there."

"It was definitely worth the trip out here to California for our team," said Vasser. "We came to learn and that's what we did. We are loading the car back on the truck in one piece but most importantly we learned that there are a few areas that we need to address. It is better to learn that here at Fontana than at Indy. This was definitely a successful 'fact-finding' tour for us. We gave it all we had today. There wasn't a lot of attrition at the front and that made it tough. Our Miller Lite team had great pit stops today and the car ran all day. That was one of our goals when we came here. Now we'll go to Indy in another week and see if we can learn a little bit more."

Across the continent at Sebring Raceway in Florida, the Gigante team was busy working on the Team Rahal road and street course set-up in preparation for the Grand Prix of Long Beach (April 12-14). Michel Jourdain Jr. put the team's Ford-Cosworth Lola through a day of testing, posting a fast lap of 50.9 seconds on the 1.65-mile course at Sebring. The team logged nearly 230 miles during the single day test.

"The track conditions weren't as ideal as they had been for previous tests, but we were still able to get a lot accomplished," said Jourdain. "The track was really quite slick because they had the 12 Hours of Sebring here last week, but we learned a few things about the car that should help us at Long Beach."

Team Rahal is scheduled for its first short oval test of 2002 this week at Homestead Speedway. The two-day test slated for Tuesday and Wednesday will utilize both Vasser in the Shell car and Jourdain in the Gigante car. The next scheduled test for the Rahal/Letterman Racing Indianapolis 500 entry is April 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, weather permitting.

Team Rahal is a franchise member of Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART). Headquartered in Hilliard, Ohio, the team owned by three-time CART Champion Bobby Rahal and CBS LATE SHOW host David Letterman, currently fields a pair of Championship Cars for 1996 CART champion Jimmy Vasser and Michel Jourdain Jr. in the CART FedEx Championship Series and an entry for Vasser in the Indianapolis 500. The 65-member team enjoys primary sponsorship from the Shell Oil Company and the Gigante Group in CART and the Miller Brewing Company for the Indy 500.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Bobby Rahal , Michel Jourdain