IRL: Scheckter tests Toyota engine for Ganassi at Phoenix

PHOENIX, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2002 -- Tomas Scheckter and Target Chip Ganassi Racing continued the fast-paced Indy Racing League offseason by testing Dec. 11 at Phoenix International Raceway. The test marked the third consecutive day that the ...

PHOENIX, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2002 -- Tomas Scheckter and Target Chip Ganassi Racing continued the fast-paced Indy Racing League offseason by testing Dec. 11 at Phoenix International Raceway.

The test marked the third consecutive day that the historic 1-mile oval was used for tests by IRL teams. Two-time reigning IRL champion Sam Hornish Jr. tested the new 2003 Chevy Indy V8 engine with Team Menard driver Jaques Lazier and Vitor Meira on Dec. 9-10.

Scheckter, winner of the Michigan Indy 400 in July at Michigan International Speedway, turned approximately 150 laps with the new Toyota Indy V8 engine.

"It went well," Scheckter said. "The relationship between me and the team is building up well. What we developed in the test at Homestead, we brought here. With every lap, we're getting better and better, and we're heading in the right direction."

Scheckter finished 14th in the 2002 IRL point standings, competing in the first 12 races of the season with Red Bull Cheever Racing before leaving the team. Target Chip Ganassi Racing owner Chip Ganassi announced Oct. 23 that Scheckter and Scott Dixon will drive for the team exclusively in the IRL in 2003.

Target Chip Ganassi Racing won four consecutive CART titles from 1996-1999 and captured the 2000 Indianapolis 500 with Juan Pablo Montoya.

"It's a very professional team," Scheckter said. "They are very aggressive and want to win. I'm building a good relationship with my engineers. They understand what I need, and I'm understanding what they need from me.

"We're learning more with every lap we turn."

Scheckter will compete in his first race for Ganassi in the 2003 IRL season opener March 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The series then heads to Phoenix on March 23. Both races will be broadcast live on ABC and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network.

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