Practice . A day of firsts for all four drivers. For Enge and Kox it was their first experience of the 2.53 mile Infineon Raceway, and for Brabham and Magnussen it was their first chance to run the Care Racing owned Ferrari 550 in anger and ...
A day of firsts for all four drivers. For Enge and Kox it was their first experience of the 2.53 mile Infineon Raceway, and for Brabham and Magnussen it was their first chance to run the Care Racing owned Ferrari 550 in anger and learn about the car.
Times slowly improved throughout the 2 hour 30 minute practice session, with the majority of the time being spent evaluating different Michelin tyre compounds and set ups. The mood is optimistic, and tomorrow is eagerly awaited.
Testing . testing .
It's been non-stop for the team since Road Atlanta, and the pace will not let up for another five weeks. The early part of this week saw the Prodrive Ferrari team head to the California Motor Speedway, Fontanta, CA for two days of intensive testing.
A new high downforce aerodynamic package, including a new rear wing - developed by Prodrive's technical partner Advantage CFD - was tested and found to be a significant improvement. It is planned that the whole package will be run this weekend.
Work was also done on the gearbox and brakes, as well as the testing of a new tyre construction from the team's tyre partner, Michelin. Peter Kox and Tomas Enge carried out the bulk of the comparison test work, while team newcomers David Brabham and Jan Magnussen got their first opportunity to get up to speed in the Ferrari 550 Maranello GTS car that will be their steed for the remainder of the 2003 American Le Mans Series.
Team Principal, George Howard-Chappell pronounced himself very pleased with the outcome of the entire test, with much good work having been done and very positive results obtained from the two days.
Busy boys .
The Prodrive Ferrari drivers will be putting their powers of energy and endurance to the test over the coming months as Brabham, Enge, Kox and Magnussen are all competing or hoping to compete in additional races over and above their ALMS schedule.
Brabham, currently recovering from a bout of sinusitis and tonsillitis, is hoping to take in two rounds of the FIA GT Championship in a GT Porsche for Skea Racing. After that he will be returning to his native Australia for the Bathurst 1000 - a race he won in 1997 with his brother Geoff - and the Bathurst 24 Hours at the end of November. In between the trips down under he will be competing in the ACO's November race on the Le Mans Bugatti circuit. Oh, and he's moving house too - from the US back to the UK!
Tomas Enge will be at the same two non-clashing rounds of the FIA GT Championship (Oschersleben in Germany and Estoril in Portugal), reprising his role as team-mate to Robert Pergl in the Team MENX's Ferrari 360 N-GT car. He is also planning to further his rallying aspirations by taking in the Czech round of the European Rally Championship, competing in a WRC Ford Focus.
Danish driver, Magnussen, has perhaps the busiest schedule with nine races over the next nine weekends, and testing in Australia and Canada to fit in as well. Currently leading the Danish Touring Car Championship by 30 points over his nearest rival, and with four rounds to go, he is hoping that his Peugeot can once again take him to victory and, ultimately, the Championship title. He is also due to compete in Australia's Sandown 500 in September and October's Bathurst 1000 for the first time, in a Holden V8, plus race the Team Goh Audi R8 in which he finished 5th at Le Mans in the ACO's November race. Just think of all those air miles .
Peter Kox of the Netherlands is also working on an additional programme . soon to be confirmed.
Bentley drivers here in the ALMS .
Because of the amount of road travel facing the Prodrive Ferrari team's two truck drivers in this busy racing period - approximately 8,000 miles from Georgia through to Laguna Seca at the beginning of September - the team has drafted in some help for them. Two members of Team Bentley, currently "resting" in its racing programme, have swapped green for red and have been sharing driving duties on the highways and byways of the US. A third Bentley boy will be joining the team to supplement its mechanical line-up for Mosport and Road America.