IRL: Nashville: Panoz G Force preview

Panoz G Force - An American Position of Strength 15 July 2004 - With seven races complete in the Indy Racing League's premier IndyCar Series, competitors reach the halfway point once this weekend's contest is complete. Teams...

Panoz G Force - An American Position of Strength

15 July 2004 - With seven races complete in the Indy Racing League's premier IndyCar Series, competitors reach the halfway point once this weekend's contest is complete. Teams and drivers using the Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone package in League competition have amassed outstanding records that bode well for the stretch run that commences after the Firestone Indy 200 at 1.33-mile, concrete Nashville SuperSpeedway on Saturday night.

Rahal Letterman Racing swept the first two places for Panoz G Force in the last outing at Kansas Speedway on 4 July in the second closest finish in IRL history, with 2004 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race winner Buddy Rice leading Vitor Meira by .0051 across the stripe. Rice, as he did in Indy swept the pole, victory and led the most laps that day, hounded by, and swapping the lead with Meira over the final dozen laps.

Bombardier Rookie of the Year point leader Kosuke Matsuura and teammate/team co-owner Adrian Fernandez also had good runs with their Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone package. Fernandez earned his fourth straight seventh place (or better) finish in IRL competition on Independence Day. Matsuura had contact but was strong throughout the afternoon.

A new face joins the Panoz G Force family of drivers this weekend when rookie Briton Mark Taylor takes over the Panoz G Force/Honda utilized by Access Motorsports, the first team to introduce the package to the IRL. Taylor is the 2003 Menards Infiniti Pro Series champion after a stellar seven-win season.

According to chief designer Simon Marshall, the unusual length and surface at Nashville suits the American-designed and built Panoz G Force chassis.

As the cars will run similar aerodynamics to Kansas with the change of a 20- degree, not 12-degree wing flap, "The teams will just have to run more downforce (lower to the ground with larger underbody wickers and, perhaps with sidepod extensions) to run flat. I think the more downforce we put on, the more efficient we become," Marshall stressed, "and therefore I think we'll still have the edge at Nashville. Driveability in traffic should be improved at lower ride heights, so the day, evening actually, should go the same way as Kansas.

-pgf-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Mark Taylor , Adrian Fernandez , Buddy Rice , Vitor Meira