CHAMPCAR/CART: Diaz tests with Fern?ndez Racing

Diaz completes successful test with Fernández Racing; Adrián Fernández impressed with driver's first champ car run. CHANDLER, Ariz. (November 5) - Under the guidance of Fernández Racing Owner/Driver Adrián Fernández, Luis Diaz took his...

Diaz completes successful test with Fern?ndez Racing; Adri?n Fern?ndez impressed with driver's first champ car run.

CHANDLER, Ariz. (November 5) - Under the guidance of Fern?ndez Racing Owner/Driver Adri?n Fern?ndez, Luis Diaz took his first laps behind the wheel of a Champ Car today, completing a one-day test with Fern?ndez Racing at Firebird International Raceway.

Diaz, who finished fourth in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship this year with Dorricott Racing, has been named as the potential replacement driver for Fern?ndez in the Gran Premio Telmex-Gigante presented by Banamex/Visa, the season finale of the CART FedEx Championship Series to be held in Mexico City on November 17. The test was conducted to give Diaz some track time prior to the event as Fern?ndez, who is currently recovering from injuries sustained at the Honda Indy 300 in Australia on October 27, has yet to be cleared to drive in his hometown race.

Adrian Fernandez.
Photo by Fernandez Racing.

"Luis did a very good job," said Fern?ndez. "It was what we expected from him. We are very happy. This was a great opportunity for Luis and we are very excited. Luis couldn't sleep last night because he was thinking about driving today!

"We went through all the basics, and did some laps on both wet and dry tires. He did quite a few miles and the car ran very well. The team did a good job. Obviously, this car is different than an Atlantic car and, physically, he felt the difference. He was very consistent and very precise in what he was saying to [race engineer] David Watson. He never put a wheel wrong and I am very happy and very impressed."

Diaz, 24, of Mexico City, completed 113 trouble-free laps aboard the #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Lola/Bridgestone on the 1.2-mile (East) road course, posting a best lap time of 48.4 seconds.

"Today was great," said Diaz. "I am very happy. It was very tough because this car is a lot bigger than the Atlantic car and has a lot more power but, with Adrian's advice and with this great team, it was a lot easier because they helped me with my learning curve. I didn't make any mistakes and I think I worked very well with David [Watson]. For me, it was a great day and I am really very happy."

Luis Diaz.
Photo by Fernandez Racing.

The former Formula Mexico Champion and Mexican Formula 3 Rookie of the Year who claimed a pair of pole positions and two Toyota Atlantic race wins driving the Telmex/Quaker State-sponsored Swift this season, also impressed Fern?ndez Racing Team Manager Gustavo del Campo: "Luis is very smart and very passionate. He is also very open-minded because the first day is tough with all the different instructions and situations. Luis handled it very well.

"We made a program to go step-by-step, gradually increasing the rpm's. We started with 3000 less revs [than the maximum], and finished with 1000 less revs. This way, he didn't feel the pressure of over-revving the engine. David Watson worked with him on the different changes - the ride height, front wings, shocks, etc. - and he was happy with Luis. I believe the guy has a promising future."

-fr-

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About this article
Series Atlantic , IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Luis Diaz