The Sperafico name appeared atop the time sheets in Barber Dodge Pro Series testing at Sebring International Raceway though it was Alexandre who led the way not younger cousin Rafael. The preceding two tests had been dominated by Barber-CART Big...
The Sperafico name appeared atop the time sheets in Barber Dodge Pro Series testing at Sebring International Raceway though it was Alexandre who led the way not younger cousin Rafael. The preceding two tests had been dominated by Barber-CART Big Scholarship co-winner Rafael Sperafico. Returning for his third year in the Barber Dodge Pro Series, the Official Professional Entry Level Series of CART, Alexandre stepped up his program dramatically to record a quick lap at 1:06.98 sec. around the 2-mile Sebring Modified test circuit.
Unofficially, that time is good enough to be the quickest lap time set in testing by a Pro Series driver.
The former holder of the quickest lap time in Pro Series testing, Ryan Hunter-Reay posted the second quickest time at 1:07.08 sec. Hunter-Reay’s test was challenged by his car, though it was his road car and not his racecar. Twice on his commute to and from Orlando where Hunter-Reay is currently studying, his car left him by the side of the road. An express shuttle got him to the track on the second day of the test albeit after missing a few hours of track time.
Hot on the heels of both Sperafico and Hunter-Reay where five other drivers who posted impressively fast times two-tenths behind Hunter-Reay and within three-tenths of one another. 2000 Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship contender Davy Cook led the charge stopping the clocks at 1:07.30 sec. as he worked on the fine art of left-foot braking. Formula Dodge Regional Championship regular Juan Manuel Polar was a tenth of a second shy of matching Cook with a 1:07.40 sec time. Returning Pro Series stars Matt Plumb and Sara Senske each ripped off 1:07.50 sec laps. Plumb spent much of the test orienting himself with his 2001 spec Barber Dodge Reynard. Senske made a huge leap forward as she focused on perfecting Sebring’s daunting first turn, a high-speed, high-downforce monster that’s quite bumpy and has a blind exit. A corner like this requires a great deal of commitment as drivers are seeing mid-corner minimum speeds of 115 mph. Another 2000 National Championship contender rounded out the group. Leonardo Maia in only his second set of test days struck a chord with a 1:07.60 lap time.
Three other returning Pro Series drivers, Tommy Fogarty, Jay Ricci, and Jon Vannini spent the two test days shaking down their 2001 spec rides rather than going for lap times. Still all three managed to post reasonably fast lap times in the low 1:08 sec. range. Rookie David Weiringa continues to improve as he prepares for his first Pro Series season. He set a quick lap at 1:08.20. Ron Attapatu returned for a second test as he continues to evaluate his prospects for a 2001 campaign.
A final test is scheduled for Feb. 12-13 before the entire 2001 field gathers for the two-day spring training on Feb. 19-20.
- George Tamayo