IRL: Scheckter, Panther Milwaukee test

Scheckter, Panther test for first time at Milwaukee. INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2003 -- Just three days after Scott Dixon won the 2003 IRL IndyCar Series championship, the quest for the 2004 title began with Tomas Scheckter and Panther ...

Scheckter, Panther test for first time at Milwaukee.

INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2003 -- Just three days after Scott Dixon won the 2003 IRL IndyCar Series championship, the quest for the 2004 title began with Tomas Scheckter and Panther Racing testing Oct. 15 at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wis.

Panther Racing announced Oct. 11 that Scheckter would replace two-time IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr., who now drives for Marlboro Team Penske.

The team wasted little time getting ready for 2004, testing at "The Mile," which will play host to an IndyCar Series event for the first time July 25, 2004. The testing conditions were sunny and windy, with a high temperature of only 52 degrees.

"Milwaukee is new to the IRL schedule in 2004, and we know that it is important to test here quickly before the weather has something to say about testing," Scheckter said. "Today was still a bit cool, and we quit early because the winds were so strong, but it was a great chance for me to start communicating with Andy Brown (engineer), Simon Morley (chief mechanic) and all the Pennzoil Panther guys. This is a great organization, and I really appreciate how they have made me feel so welcome."

John Barnes, co-owner of Panther Racing, was impressed with Scheckter's first test with the team.

"Obviously we have known that Tomas is a very fast race car driver," Barnes said. "Now we know how good he is with technical feedback, and we have an opportunity to start building a communication relationship that will be the foundation to success in 2004.

"Tomas' knowledge of the car and the IRL formula should allow us to take the very strong race platform we have developed with this car over the last year and take it to the next level. I am very impressed."

The test marked the first time in more than a year that Scheckter had driven a Dallara chassis or a car equipped with a Chevrolet engine. In 2003, he drove a Panoz G Force/Toyota combination for Target Chip Ganassi Racing.

"I really enjoy racing in the IRL, and I am really looking forward to 2004 with Pennzoil Panther Racing," Scheckter said. "I was pleased with the Chevrolet power today, and the transition to the Dallara chassis has been pretty smooth. We will come back out here tomorrow for a bit more work and then head back to Indianapolis to begin preparing for our next test later this month."

The 2004 IRL IndyCar Series season begins with the Toyota Indy 300 Feb. 29, at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , John Barnes , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing