INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 25, 1999) â€“ Team KOOL Green recently began its 1999 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic program with driver Alex Gurney in promising fashion with a series of tests at Buttonwillow Raceway Park and Phoenix International Raceway (PIR). ...
INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 25, 1999) – Team KOOL Green recently began its 1999 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic program with driver Alex Gurney in promising fashion with a series of tests at Buttonwillow Raceway Park and Phoenix International Raceway (PIR). Gurney completed over 400 miles of testing at the two tracks, acclimating himself to the Swift 008.a and with the Team KOOL Green Toyota Atlantic crew in the process.
The test program began on February 15 and 16 at the Buttonwillow road course in central California. Gurney ran 100 miles each day, in company with several other Atlantic cars driven by P-1 Racing's Jean-Francois Veilleux and Dave Cutler, as well as the PDR entry piloted by Elton Julian. The team concentrated on developing chassis and aerodynamic set-ups suited to the Long Beach street circuit, site of the opening round of the 1999 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship on April 17.
"We had a productive couple of days at Buttonwillow," said Gureny, whose best lap of 47.6s compared favorably with the other drivers present. "I got acquainted with the car and we learned quite a bit about my preferences for chassis and aerodynamic set-ups, and how they affect the performance of the car relative to Long Beach."
A week later, Gurney and Team KOOL Green continued their testing program at PIR on February 22 and 23. As this was Gurney's first time on an oval track, the primary goal of the test was for him to acquire experience on the 1-mile oval. He ran more than 200 miles during the test and posted a fastest lap of 25.3s, within 1/2s of the times recorded at the test by KOOL/Toyota Atlantic veterans Andrew Bordin and Anthony Lazzaro.
"This was my first ever experience on an oval in any car," said Alex. "It was a bit daunting in the beginning, but the team worked hard to make me comfortable. We started with a lot of push in the car and then gradually got it more neutral. By the second day we were just fine-tuning the car. I was flat-out all the way around and the car was pretty comfortable at the end.
"Running on an oval is not easy," he continued, "it's a different discipline than running on a road circuit. Things happen faster and you have to be very precise."
Team KOOL Green will resume its Atlantic testing program at PIR on March 3 and 4.