SEBRING, Fla. (Saturday, July 8, 2000) â€“ Alex Zanardi began two days of testing in the ...
SEBRING, Fla. (Saturday, July 8, 2000) – Alex Zanardi began two days of testing in the #55 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Mercedes-Benz Reynard today, ending a lengthy hiatus that began with his departure from the Williams Formula One team. The two-time CART FedEx Championship Series champion is running the road course at Sebring International Raceway, putting the car through its paces for team owner Morris Nunn, who was his engineer during his three-year run at Target/Chip Ganassi Racing. Regular Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing driver Tony Kanaan is recovering from injuries sustained in Detroit three weekends ago and is hoping to be back in time for the July 23 Michigan 500.
“I’m doing really well. I’m also having suddenly a lot of fun. The passion hasn’t gone. It’s nice to find such a nice car to come back to after a period of vacation. I call it a vacation because it was my decision not to engage myself in any other thing after the Williams period. So, it’s really good to be back. I’m amazed – although the circuit today is really green and we haven’t gotten to the point yet where I can say I have personalized the car the way it’s set up – by how much grip this car has in the corners compared to Formula One car with those grooved tires. This is a car you can play with. Maybe I went over the line already ... I spun three times. I have no reason in the world that I should be pushing over the limit, by how else can you explain that I spun three times already other than that I’m having fun.
“Do I sound like I’m having the time of my life? I’ll need to win another race, another championship, before I can say that for sure. But, certainly, I’m doing today what I’ve loved to do in so many years of my career. To have a break as long as I did, and to come back to a good car to drive, with big friends all around me, is fun. I have the time to chat with them, have some fun. Morris and all the boys for me are big friends. Tony Kanaan is a big friend. Brad Filbey is a big friend. Tomorrow the Ganassi team is coming and I will be able to see some more friends there.
(Any significance to Ganassi and Alex Zanardi being at the same track on the same weekend?) “The one thing about what you have here in the States, there are not very many great racetracks to test. So all the teams go to all the same places. You’re always going to be there with somebody else. It will be good to see them. It’s good to work with Morris again.
“Sebring quite representative of what you find on your (CART FedEx Championship Series) calendar. A little bit of everything. This is a good place to test and to get back into a race car for me.
“Physically, I’ve been doing things at home, but never enough. The best thing to do in this business is to drive the car. I’m quite surprised that I’m feeling in great shape. Obviously, to do a race would be much different than testing. But I’m doing really well.”