IRL: Infiniti Motorsport Test in the West preview

Infiniti Heads to Test in the West with Small but Mighty Contingent Conquest Racing Joins Cheever and Dreyer & Reinbold in Infiniti Camp GARDENA, Calif. (Feb. 4, 2002) - Infiniti may be the underdog in terms of entry numbers at the Indy Racing...

Infiniti Heads to Test in the West with Small but Mighty Contingent Conquest Racing Joins Cheever and Dreyer & Reinbold in Infiniti Camp

GARDENA, Calif. (Feb. 4, 2002) - Infiniti may be the underdog in terms of entry numbers at the Indy Racing League's Test in the West, but when it comes to performance, the three Infiniti-powered teams feel they have an advantage in the race for the 2002 Indy Racing championship.

Heading out west for the traditional preseason showdown, newcomer Mi-Jack/Conquest Racing will join Infiniti regulars Red Bull Cheever Racing and Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing in using Infiniti power this season.

Mi-Jack/Conquest Racing

Preparing for its first full season of Indy Racing League competition, Mi-Jack/Conquest Racing recently announced its decision to use the Infiniti Indy V8 engine in its 2002 campaign.

"The Infiniti engine package came on strong at the end of 2001," said Eric Bachelart, Mi-Jack/Conquest Racing team owner. "With Tom Walkinshaw Racing preparing the motors, we are confident in the level of quality and performance. Also, Infiniti has installed Bernard Dudot as program director for the IRL. Dudot was the man behind Renault's championship-winning involvement in Formula One with Williams and Benetton. He is highly respected within the industry."

Bachelart, a former Indianapolis 500 driver, has selected Laurant Redon of Chamond, France, to drive the No. 34 Mi-Jack/Conquest Racing Infiniti for the 2002 season. The pair worked together last season, racing in the Chicagoland and Texas Indy races. Redon brings experience as a Formula One test driver for Bennetton in 1999 and Minardi in 1998. He also raced in the Formula 3000 championship in 1996 and 1997, finishing among the top 10 both years.

Red Bull Cheever Racing

A new partnership with the world's leading energy drink, Red Bull, gives Cheever Indy Racing a facelift for the 2002 Indy Racing League championship.

The team will run two cars for the full season, with owner and driver Eddie Cheever Jr. behind the wheel of the No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Infiniti, and a soon-to-be-announced driver in the No. 52 Infiniti.

"We have worked diligently this off-season developing the Infiniti engine with the engineers from TWR," said Cheever, who won the Indy 500 in 1998. "The Test in the West is the first time we see where we rank after all the work we have done during the winter."

Cheever has been racing with the Infiniti Indy engine since 1999, scoring two victories with Infiniti power at Pikes Peak in 2000, and Kansas in 2001.

Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing

Team owners Dennis Reinbold, who owns two Infiniti dealerships in Indianapolis, and Robbie Buhl return for the 2002 IRL season. They enjoy the continued support of Purex, the nation's fastest-growing detergent brand, and Aventis.

"We are hoping to pick up where we left off last season," said Buhl, who led the final four races last season. "We had some gremlins that kept us from winning last year, but the Infiniti engine was very strong. We are looking forward to trying out the new updates for the Infiniti motor at the Test in the West."

Buhl joined the Infiniti program in 2000 and has scored three third-place finishes with the Infiniti engine.

Infiniti Indy 35A Stronger with 2002 Updates

Nearly a year ago, Infiniti introduced the all-new Infiniti Indy 35A engine. Eddie Cheever Jr. won with the engine at Kansas Speedway, and Robbie Buhl led the final four races of the season with the powerplant.

Since then, the Infiniti Indy 35A has been through a complete design review. Infiniti teams tested more than 5000 miles during the winter, concentrating on a new electronics package and durability of core engine components.

In addition, simulation races on the dynamometer test bed at the TWR engine facility in Kidlington, England, far exceeded the miles logged on Infiniti engines during winter testing.

As a result, new updates will be provided for Infiniti teams this season that will further reduce the engine's center of gravity and significantly enhance horsepower.

"In our pursuit to win more races and the 2002 Indy Racing League championship we have further improved the reliability and performance of the Infiniti Indy 35A," said Steve Kight, corporate manager of Infiniti Motorsports. "This updated package should provide Infiniti teams with the performance advantage they enjoyed in the latter part of the 2001 season."

Test in the West Schedule

The seventh annual IRL Test in the West begins with a media day Feb. 5 at California Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Testing at the two-mile track is scheduled for Feb. 6. Teams then travel to Phoenix for two days of practice on the one-mile Phoenix International Raceway on Feb. 8-9.

Infiniti participates in the Indy Racing League to reinforce the performance attributes of the Infiniti line of vehicles. In addition to the design and development of the winning Infiniti Indy V8 engine, the company also provides the Q45 engine for the Infiniti Pro Series.

Infiniti, the luxury division of Nissan North America, Inc., is supported by a network of approximately 150 retailers throughout North America and offers a range of luxury vehicles including the Infiniti QX4 Sport Utility Vehicle, G20 and G35 sport sedans, I35 luxury sedan, and flagship Q45 luxury performance sedan. For more information on the complete line of Infiniti luxury vehicles and the Total Ownership Experience (TOE) philosophy, visit Infiniti on the Web as www.infiniti.com.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Eddie Cheever , Robbie Buhl , Tom Walkinshaw
Teams Williams , Dreyer & Reinbold Racing , Conquest Racing