Zonta Sets New Track Record at Laguna Seca on Opening Day of Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races Presented by Toyota

Salinas, Calif. (August 18, 2006) - After one installation lap today on the 11-turn, 2.238 mile Laguna Seca Raceway, Panasonic Toyota F1 driver Ricardo Zonta easily set a new track record on his second flying lap with at 1:07:587 at119.206 mph. This time and speed edges the previous record of 1:07.722 set by Helio Castroneves at the CART Honda Grand Prix of Monterey in 2000. Castroneves' speed was 118.969.

"The team made some adjustments after our test laps yesterday that helped the car run smoother on the track today and I had a feeling the car could go much quicker than yesterday," said Zonta after the session ended early in the third lap with an electrical short. "We had used tires on today and planned to change to new slicks in the second session, but we never got the chance. I am looking forward to new, slick tires tomorrow."

The plan for today called for one installation lap, three flying laps, a tire change to new tires, then a final three flying laps. On Saturday, the car will be making flying laps at 12:45 and 3:40 p.m. and on Sunday at 12:35 and 3:25 p.m.

Zonta last drove on the Laguna Seca track in 1998 when he won the FIA GT Championships behind the wheel of a Mercedes.

-credit: rbw