FORT WORTH, Texas, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2002 -- An all-new 2003 Indy Racing League car was on track the first time Dec. 17 at Texas Motor Speedway, with Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Tomas Scheckter and Scott Dixon testing a 2003 Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone.
Scheckter, 2002 Indianapolis 500 Bank One co-Rookie of the Year, turned the first laps in the new car on the 1.5-mile oval. It was the first time a 2003 chassis by any of the three IRL manufacturers -- Panoz G Force, Dallara and Falcon -- has been on-track.
"(Panoz) G Force looks like they have done a good job," Scheckter said. "There is still a lot of work to be done, but immediately out of the box we haven't had any problems. I'm looking forward to the season driving the Panoz G Force."
Scheckter and teammate Dixon each drove a 2002 Panoz G Force equipped . Swith a Toyota engine in the morning before switching to the 2003 car . Sin the afternoon imon Marshall, the lead designer of the 2003 chassis,. Swas happy to see a problem-free first day of testing .
"It's a little early to say," Marshall said of the chassis progress. "There are no problems that we can see at the moment. We are just comparing it to this morning's run of last year's car."
Now that the 2003 chassis has been on track, team manager Mike Hull and the rest of the Target Chip Ganassi Racing crew can concentrate on producing a winning combination with a new Toyota engine, new Panoz G Force chassis and Firestone tires.
"We have actually been lucky to run the Toyota engine in four tests this winter," Hull said. "For us, that has been a learning curve, but so far it has been running extraordinarily well. This is our first outing here in Texas with the 2003 Panoz G force chassis, so in fairness to the situation, we haven't had any problems. We ran the car right out of the box without a problem, and so it is going well."
The 2003 Indy Racing League season debut is the Toyota Indy 300 on March 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be broadcast live on ABC and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network.