For the many who saw Ryan Hunter-Reay run in the Barber Dodge Pro Series, it is no surprise that he is fast. What's perhaps surprising is just how quickly he has adapted to the higher formula Toyota Atlantic competition. For the first time in his...
For the many who saw Ryan Hunter-Reay run in the Barber Dodge Pro Series, it is no surprise that he is fast. What's perhaps surprising is just how quickly he has adapted to the higher formula Toyota Atlantic competition. For the first time in his racing career, the former Rookie of the Year drove his #1 Medlock Ames Winery/u.s. print/Toyota/Swift at Portland International Raceway. Hunter-Reay ran 220 trouble-free miles on the scenic 1.969-mile road course and was up to speed immediately, setting the fastest times throughout the day.
Breaking the 1:07 second barrier and solidly setting times in the mid-1:07's throughout the day, Hunter-Reay proved he had no problem learning the road course which consists of a series of fast turns and long straights,"Today was my first time running here at Portland, and I was up to speed very quickly, so that allowed us to get right to work on developing an ideal set-up." He continued,"I really like this track, especially the high-speed corners. There is a fifth gear corner that you take almost flat and it leads into a right-hander, it's insanely quick and lots of fun. The grip the Atlantic car gives makes this track a blast."
New to the CART Toyota Atlantic schedule for 2002, Tuesday was the first time the Hylton Motorsports team had tested at Portland International Raceway."My engineer and of course Derek Higgins and a few of the guys have run here before with an Indy Lights car, but this is the first time with the Atlantic car. We really worked hard to develop the set-up this morning, we experimented with a lot of different settings looking for a perfect set-up and I think we found it, or at least we came close because we were the quickest in the afternoon," said Hunter-Reay.
Hunter-Reay commented on the importance of testing on a new track prior to the event."This test is really important for us. Since this is my first year in the Atlantic series, there are a few tracks that I have not been on before. Being able to test at the track saves us some learning time on the race weekend and allows us to get down to business as soon as we return for the race. We are already a few steps ahead." He continued,"the fact that Derek Higgins has competed here helped me as well. He provides us with a lot of experience and knowledge going into places we have not been to before."
Hunter-Reay and his crew will return to PIR Wednesday to wrap up their two-day test, before returning to their Irvine, California headquarters to prepare a test next month at the Milwaukee Mile. Round three of the 2002 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship will take place at the historic Milwaukee Mile on June 2nd.