'IMAGINEER' TURNS RACE DRIVER FOR F-2000 TEST SESSION
ORLANDO, FL, Dec. 9 -- For Bob Whyte, Saturday's Formula Ford 2000 testing session at Walt Disney World Speedway was somehing special.
The F-2000 machines will run as a companion race to the Indy Racing League's inaugural Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Jan. 25-27 on the new one-mile oval.
Whyte is an "imagineer" for the Disney organization. They're the folks who brainstorm the concept of Disney attractions.
"We're working on the Animal Kingdom now," Whyte said. "We just finished the Tower of Terror."
But for Saturday, Whyte saddled up an F-2000 car for the first time, after running about 20 races in various Sports Car Club of America classes since 1981.
"If a Disney employee is going to be in the race, it might as well be me," Whyte said. "I always hoped we'd be able to have an event like this. I think it's perfect for a race."
The track is to his liking.
"It's smooth," he said. "It's fast. I'm learning every session. This is the first time I've been on an oval and the first time in a two-liter car. It's a lot more Gs than I'm used to. I've done about 130 laps. My gas foot's falling asleep. It's not the kind of feeling you get from a road course."
OTHER F-2000 DRIVER COMMENTS ABOUT WALT DISNEY WORLD SPEEDWAY:
AUGIE PABST III: "It's neat. The biggest thing I've noticed is the little crests of hill at the entrance and exit to all three turns. The surface is real nice. It sets itself apart from any other oval track I've been on."
JEFF SMITH: "It's neat as far as the different slopes and corners. Kevin Forbes (the track's designer) has been a friend of mine for a long time and he did an excellent job. It's going to be very exciting at Disney World with this type of facility...all first-class. I like it a lot...it's smooth, fast."
HOWARD KATZ: "It's a fun little track. The only other mile oval we run is New Hampshire and it's totally different than New Hampshire."
SAM HORNISH: "I think it's a pretty nice track. This is first oval I've been on with a Formula Continental. It feels a lot faster than racing a go-kart."
Nigel Bousfield, motorsports specialist for Yokohama, said tires on the F-2000 cars were fine at Walt Disney World Speedway. "The tires are working great," Bousfield said. "The wear and temperatures ae all well within the parameters we like to see. I love this track...the look and the layout. It's a beautiful surface."
At 11:02 a.m., Don Burgoon of Gastonia, N.C., who was fastest of the day at the time, brushed the wall at the exit of Turn 2, continued to Turn 3 where he spun twice and hit the wall with the right side at the exit of Turn 3. Burgoon was uninjured. The car sustained right-side damage. ***
TOP UNOFFICIAL F-2000 SPEEDS FROM USAC TIMING AND SCORING:
NUM BEST BEST DRIVER RESIDENCE LAPS TIME SPEED ======================================================================= Nelson Calle Key Biscayne, FL 139 28.497 126.329 Nick Holt Seattle, WA 168 28.828 124.887 Don Burgoon Gastonia, NC 51 29.012 124.087 Howard Katz New York, NY 91 29.115 123.648 David Webb Clearwater, FL 128 29.286 122.926 Augie Pabst III Oconomowoc, WI 66 29.652 121.408 Ollie Besinger Carpentersville, IL 110 29.726 121.106 Bob Whyte Malibu, CA 166 30.848 116.701 Sam Hornish Jr. Defiance, OH 142 30.954 116.302 Jeff Smith Terre Haute, IN 124 31.240 115.237 Dr. Ed Dasso West Chester, OH 14 35.026 102.781 Sam Hornish Jr. Defiance, OH 4 42.615 84.477
(This concludes the series of daily reports on initial testing at Walt Disney World Speedway.)