PHOENIX, Thursday, Dec. 19, 2002 -- Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series veterans Arie Luyendyk Jr. and Gary Peterson successfully completed the first test of the new specification Infiniti Q45 engine Dec. 17 and 18 at Phoenix International Raceway.

Developed by TWR Group in conjunction with Infiniti Pro Series officials, the new "C" spec engine is the second evolution of the 450-horsepower powerplant, which debuted in April 2002.

Luyendyk and Peterson completed more than 700 miles of testing at the 1-mile desert oval under the supervision of Brian Barnhart, senior vice president of operations for the Indy Racing League, and Roger Bailey, executive director of the Infiniti Pro Series.

"This is the right package," said Bailey. "The internal modifications we've made over the winter, which include new pistons, front engine cover, timing-chain configuration and camshafts, performed flawlessly. Those revisions, coupled with a new airbox to regulate inlet temperatures, give us the consistent package we've been looking for.

"The reliability we saw during the testing at Phoenix bodes extremely well for a strong and successful 2003 season."

Luyendyk, 21, from nearby Scottsdale, Ariz., was equally impressed with the performance of the "C" spec engine.

"The engine felt great right off the bat," said Luyendyk, who finished second in the 2002 Infiniti Pro Series standings. "It definitely had more power than the engine from last year. Where you could feel it was off the corners; it just felt more powerful. I'm looking forward to having that engine behind me next year because I think it will be a reliable, strong engine."

Peterson, from Long Beach, Calif., agreed.

"The engine was real strong," Peterson said. "You could feel the power in the corners; it would accelerate out of the corners better than the previous engine we had. It ran flawless. I think they made some good headway, and we ran strong for 500 miles flat-out."

The second season of Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series competition begins March 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.