IRL: Panther Racing Homestead test 2006-03-05

Vitor Meira Takes First Laps in Panther No. 4 Dallara Honda Brazilian Finishes 7th Overall on Road Course, 11th on Oval HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- New Panther driver Vitor Meira completed his first laps in the No. 4 Panther Dallara Honda this weekend...

Vitor Meira Takes First Laps in Panther No. 4 Dallara Honda

Brazilian Finishes 7th Overall on Road Course, 11th on Oval

HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- New Panther driver Vitor Meira completed his first laps in the No. 4 Panther Dallara Honda this weekend during the IndyCar Series open test at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Meira finished the two-day road course test as the seventh fastest driver overall. After media day activities on Saturday, Vitor turned 115 laps during a full day on the variably-banked 1.5-mile oval, which marked the conclusion of the test. Meira finished 11th on the speed chart during the oval portion of the test.

This weekend's events marked the last pre-season open testing before the first race of the 2006 season, which will be held on March 26th on Homestead's oval -- a track where Panther has won two races.

The Miami race will be the start of the IndyCar Series' condensed 14-race schedule and Panther's run at its third league championship. The team is coming off a 2005 season where they won for the fifth time at Texas Motor Speedway -- most among IndyCar Series teams - and started from the pole on three occasions, setting a new team record. The team's 15 career IndyCar Series victories ranks second on the series' all-time list, tied with Team Penske.

Vitor Meira Quote:

"We had a great test this week in Homestead. The entire Panther Racing team is getting along very well and the chemistry has been outstanding. We've only been together for two weeks now and I feel like we're doing just as well as teams that have been together for the entire offseason. We still have a lot of work to do but this has been a great start for us."

Panther Tracks: Panther Race Engineer Bill Pappas was Race Engineer with Juan Pablo Montoya when he won the Indianapolis 500 in 2000. Pappas joined Panther after spending the past seven seasons with Chip Ganassi Racing. During his tenure there, Pappas engineers cars that led the Indy 500 in every race from 2000-2004, and also engineered 2002 pole winner Bruno Junqueira ... Support Engineer Brent "Woody" Harvey helped engineer former Panther driver Mark Taylor to the Indy Pro Series Championship in 2003, when the team won seven of the 11 races in which they competed ... Panther has a total of 15 IndyCar Series victories, tied for second most in league history .... Panther Racing won back-to-back IRL Championships in 2001 & 2002 and the Indy Pro Series Championship in 2003 ... A total of eleven drivers have started a race for Panther: Sam Hornish Jr. (44), Tomas Scheckter (33), Scott Goodyear (30), Tomas Enge (13), Townsend Bell (11), Buddy Lazier (6), Mark Taylor (6), Dave Steele (2), Dan Wheldon (2), Billy Boat (1) and Robby McGehee (1).

-www.pantherracing.com

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske