CHAMPCAR/CART: Bourdais completed first oval test at Phoenix

Lilly driver Bourdais completed his first oval test at Phoenix International Raceway earlier this week. LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. (April 4, 2003) - Lilly driver Sebastien Bourdais completed his first test on an oval track earlier this week when he ...

Lilly driver Bourdais completed his first oval test at Phoenix International Raceway earlier this week.

LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. (April 4, 2003) - Lilly driver Sebastien Bourdais completed his first test on an oval track earlier this week when he ran April 1-2 on the 1-mile Phoenix International Raceway oval in Phoenix, Ariz. The reigning F3000 Champion is in his first season of competition for Newman/Haas Racing in the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car world Series Powered by Ford and won the first two pole positions in the same number of events so far this season.

"It's been really, really interesting (testing on an oval)," said Bourdais, 24. "It's a bit scary when you start because you don't know really well the limits, between the driver and the car also. It's very difficult to estimate this. After a couple of runs, you can start to get some sensations and a better feeling, so you start to push a bit more, but always with a lot of precaution because it's really easy to do a mistake. With the downforce we have on the cars, on the ovals, it's really quick. You really need to take your time not to do a big mistake which really can have a big consequence on yourself and on the car. It was really interesting. Now I can say that I really had my first experience and I know more where I am on an oval."

On Tuesday, PacifiCare driver Bruno Junqueira turned the first laps for Newman/Haas Racing in a Ford-powered Champ car on an oval since the team ran - and won - the 2000 season-ending race at The California Speedway with Christian Fittipaldi. For 2001 and 2002, the team was powered by Toyota. Junqueira's role was to shake-down the car in order to ensure the set-up was well-balanced before handing the testing duties over to rookie Bourdais who then ran approximately 345 trouble-free laps/miles over Tuesday and Wednesday.

"Newman Haas Racing was very pleased to be able to run a two-day test with Sebastien to give him his first exposure to an oval," said Brian Lisles, General Manager for Newman/Haas Racing. "For his own safety and that of his fellow competitors, we feel it was crucial to allow him to gain experience at an oval in a quiet setting with no pressure to prepare him for the forthcoming oval events."

Newman/Haas Racing, owned by actor/race car driver Paul Newman and racing entrepreneur Carl A. Haas, is the most successful team competing in the Champ Car World Series sanctioned by Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART). The team is in its 21st season in CART in 2003 and will attempt to score their first back-to-back CART title as well as their fifth overall after winning 68 races and 72 pole positions. Current drivers Bruno Junqueira and Sebastien Bourdais, were preceded at the team by Mario and Michael Andretti, Nigel Mansell, Paul Tracy, Christian Fittipaldi and reigning 2002 CART Champion Cristiano da Matta. For more information log on to www.newman-haas.com, www.brunojunqueira.com, www.sebastien-bourdias.com or www.cart.com.

-NHR-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Bruno Junqueira , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Nigel Mansell , Paul Newman , Sébastien Bourdais , Cristiano da Matta