FONTANA, Calif. (Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2003) -- Felipe Giaffone and the ...
FONTANA, Calif. (Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2003) -- Felipe Giaffone and the #21 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-Panoz G Force clocked the fastest times of the day in today's morning and afternoon sessions that kicked off this week's IRL IndyCar Series 2003 pre-season Test in the West at California Speedway in Fontana. New teammate Tora Takagi and the #12 Pioneer/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-Panoz G Force turned the fourth-fastest lap in the morning session and the seventh-fastest lap of the afternoon session today.
Giaffone toured the 2-mile tri-oval in 32.2879 seconds (222.994 mph) to pace 19 competitors taking part in this morning's opening three-hour test session. He followed that up with the fastest lap of the day in the 2-hour, 30-minute afternoon session, a 31.8988-second (225.714-mph) effort. He logged a total of 184 miles on the day -- 35 laps this morning and 57 this afternoon.
Takagi's best lap of the circuit was this morning's 32.4386-second (221.958-mph) effort while he recorded a time of 32.4679 seconds (221.757 mph) this afternoon that was also seventh on the combined (morning and afternoon) timesheets.
Tomas Scheckter's lap of 32.2601 seconds (223.186 mph) this afternoon was the second best of the day, while Tony Kanaan's lap of 32.3527 seconds (222.547 mph) this afternoon was the third best of the day. Fourth through sixth on the combined timesheets today were Dario Franchitti (32.3546/222.534), Gil de Ferran (32.3559/222.525) and Scott Dixon (32.3771/222.379).
The IRL IndyCar Test in the West now moves to the Phoenix International Raceway mile oval with sessions scheduled for Friday and Saturday. The 16-race season for 2003 begins March 2 at South Florida's Homestead Miami Speedway.
"Well, as you could see, my Hollywood car was very good right out of the box. I am very, very happy with the Toyota engine. It was consistent all day long. I took advantage of two very big drafts to set my fast times this morning and this afternoon. I caught them at the right time, with new tires. I was lucky to have those guys in front of me. But, overall, the team has done a great job preparing our cars for this week. I think we had a great car from the time it went green this morning. It was definitely a good, one-line car in the morning. But then we had success improving the car as the day went along and we were able to run just about anywhere on the track that we wanted. So the uncertainty that we had this morning about how competitive we were going to be here at Fontana is much more clear, and we feel good about the results. Now we go to Phoenix to see how the car will do on a completely different kind of track."
"The day turned out very well for the Pioneer Toyota team. I only was able to spend half of a day in the car in my only other test so far at Homestead last month, so this was really my first good taste of driving an Indy car. It turned out very well for us. We put in a lot of miles and we found that the car has very good balance, especially in the morning session when we went with a very neutral setup. We tried a lot of things in the afternoon and made some changes that were not necessarily good for the car. But that is what testing is for, so you can learn what is good for the car and what is not good for the car. The Toyota-Panoz G Force package is very good for this track. Now we will go to Phoenix and hope we can have a good result there (Friday and Saturday)."