England's Dan Wheldon tested an Indy Racing League (IRL) car for the first time last week when he was invited to drive a Dallara Infiniti for the Red Bull Cheever Infiniti Racing team around the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida, USA.
Former Grand Prix driver Eddie Cheever is considering Wheldon as his team-mate for the 2002 season. After the test session on the Homestead oval, Cheever commented: "He did everything we requested of him, including keeping it off the wall! I only did a 191 mph lap that day, so -- considering everything -- he did a great job on his first Indy car test."
Richard Caron, General Manager of Red Bull Cheever Infiniti Racing, said: "We hope to select a second driver before the end of January."
After his first IRL test session, Dan Wheldon commented: "It was a great privilege for me to test for Red Bull Cheever Infiniti Racing -- particularly as Eddie Cheever won the Indy 500 in 1998 and was one of my heroes when I was growing up! The test has given me invaluable experience of driving an IRL car."
23-year old Wheldon came second in this year's CART Dayton Indy Lights Championship and has been Rookie of the Year in three leading American single-seater formulae over the past three seasons - US Formula Ford 2000 (1999), Toyota Formula Atlantic (2000) and Indy Lights -- with PacWest Racing -- this year.