CHAMPCAR/CART: Brands Hatch: Team Player's preview

History-steeped Brands Hatch the setting as Team Player's goes after fourth straight Champ Car World Series victory. Kent, England, May 1, 2003 The last time Paul Tracy raced on the legendary Brands Hatch circuit southeast of London, he was an...

History-steeped Brands Hatch the setting as Team Player's goes after fourth straight Champ Car World Series victory.

Kent, England, May 1, 2003 The last time Paul Tracy raced on the legendary Brands Hatch circuit southeast of London, he was an 18-year-old competing in the Formula 2000 series. When the Team Player's driver returns to Brands Hatch this weekend, it is for a race in the Champ Car World Series, of which Tracy is currently the leader, on the strength of his winning all three races to open the season.

Tracy and teammate Patrick Carpentier join the rest of the Champ Car field for the first of two straight weeks of competition on European soil. The Brands Hatch race, formally known as the London Champ Car Trophy, which, exceptionally, takes place on Monday, a holiday in England, will be followed six days later by the German 500 on the EuroSpeedway in Lausitz.

"Any driver, and anyone who follows motor-racing, knows about the rich tradition of the Brands Hatch circuit," Tracy said of the famed road course that has turns named Hill, Surtees, McLaren and Clark, after fabled British racers. "I'm excited about racing at Brands Hatch, not only as a driver, but as someone who's interested in motor-racing history. It's going to be very challenging, with its many rises and twists and tricky sections, and I'm sure that the turn as we're climbing Paddock Hill Bend is going to be quite an experience."

A victory by Tracy, who tops the standings with 64 points, would put him into the Champ Car record book, alongside Al Unser Jr. (1990), Alex Zanardi (1998) and Cristiano da Matta (2002) as the only drivers to win four consecutive Champ Car races. Tracy, however, says: "I don't even think about it in terms of a streak. Everyone on Team Player's just focuses on the next race and what we can do to be in a position to be in front at the end."

Carpentier, who is coming off his best finish of the season sixth in Long Beach three weeks ago may well have joined his teammate on the podium in all of the three races thus far, but a mistake at an inopportune moment, combined with just plain bad luck, has kept him out of the top three. He is determined to rectify that situation at Brands Hatch.

"It looks like the type of track that is going to keep everyone close to the pack throughout the race," Carpentier remarked. "It's probably going to come down to strategy, execution and running as flawless a race as possible."

Among the changes for the Brands Hatch race is the elimination of the mandatory pit window, although teams are obliged to make two green-flag stops in which all four tires must be changed during the race. And even though Brands Hatch is a 1.2-mile road course, single-car qualifying will be in effect, with each driver allotted four timed laps.

Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at the 165-lap London Champ Car Trophy throughout the weekend by logging on to the team's website at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the race live on the The Sports Network starting at 9 a.m. on Monday.

-tp-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Patrick Carpentier , Paul Tracy , Cristiano da Matta