CHAMPCAR/CART: Bruno Junqueira and Mike Hull press conference, Part II

CART Media Teleconference Presented by Worldcom May 14, 2002 An Interview With Bruno Junqueira & Mike Hull Part 2 of 2 - Racing at Indy and development work Q: Bruno, I know the president of Brazil knows about Formula One because he...

CART Media Teleconference Presented by Worldcom
May 14, 2002

An Interview With Bruno Junqueira & Mike Hull

Part 2 of 2 - Racing at Indy and development work

Q: Bruno, I know the president of Brazil knows about Formula One because he didn't waste any time getting off a comment about what happened on the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday. But with your countryman Helio Castroneves winning last year, what is the sense within Brazil about the Indianapolis 500 and the more success by Brazilian drivers, is it becoming a bigger deal down there and as you were growing up, what did you know about that event?

Bruno Junqueira: I think the Indianapolis 500 started to be a big deal in Brazil late '80s when Emerson (Fittipaldi) started to race that. I think Emerson brought the American race to Brazil; especially when he won in '89 I think everybody was watching that race and '93 again, I think since then Indianapolis 500 is a big followed race in Brazil.

Q: When you walked into the building for the first time - people talk about, Bruno, a sense of the history that is so powerful. What was the experience for you? I would suspect you were very curious about it but I mean, when you went in the first time and looked around and they showed you some of the sites there, what was your reaction?

Bruno Junqueira: Pretty good. I live here in Indianapolis; I know how this city, how the people from the city love this race and how the city transforms on the month of May and I know how much the tradition is with this race. I really like it. I think the tradition of the race, plus the race itself because the track is really unique, is really difficult, and the rules to get into the race and the way the race is, make it really special for each driver that drives the race.

Q: It's interesting now with the rainout, Bruno, that everything is going to be compressed down with the bump day and the second day of qualifying comes. I know you have a nice view of all this from your rearview mirror, but how frantic do you think it will be on Sunday with the one day to get everybody else in to fill up the rest of the field?

Bruno Junqueira: It is going to be pretty exciting because there are like, I don't know, there are like five or six drivers that can win this race, they are not on the race yet, you know, Arie Luyendyk, two times won the race, both Team Green's cars and both A.J. Foyt's cars, Michael (Andretti) a little bit, on doubt about whether he is going to be in the race. There are so many people that are not in the race yet, I think Sunday is going to be really exciting. I think this whole week is going to be exciting. People are waiting for the weather, praying to get the good weather Sunday. I think -- luckily I am not going to be too worried about that, I am going to be worried about the race.

Q: First question, Mike, I want to talk about tire management and the fact that with the grinding of the racetrack there has been some talk regarding the fact that tire wear may go away faster than fuel evaporation, so to speak, talk about that?

Mike Hull: I know there's been a lot of talk about that and we made the comment or I made the comment to someone the other day about that. I think that we'll find out this week, Ron, about where we stand with that thing. We didn't think we were too bad last week but we didn't devote a lot of time to running full loads, you know, full simulation, fuel -- race management simulation. We concentrated last week on being ready to qualify, and we'll start tomorrow running with full loads of fuel with our three guys and I know a lot of other people will also. And the race car is set up in a different way for 200 pounds of fuel. So we'll adjust the setup and we think that Firestone has done a pretty good job of having tires ready to race the race, so I know that Arie made a comment the other day about only being able to go to 20 to 30 laps and we really do hope that Arie and a bunch of his friends stop right there and we think we'll be okay.

Q: The other thing that I have noticed is the fact that with Jeff Ward running in the Indy Racing League, and the other drivers from the teams from the CART FedEx Championship Series, that -- I think Vasser and them ran at Fontana, but they really have no history of these cars and they seem to be having trouble getting a handle on the cars. How big of an advantage has it been to have Jeff Ward running and maybe pick up information leading into the month of May?

Mike Hull: I think the more that you have an opportunity to work with your product the better you are going to be. And you are right, there are some people that you would expect who have been faster than they have been. I thought Vasser's guys with Team Rahal did a really good job with him all week. They figured out what their Dallara needed and they got themselves in the race. They did a good job of it.

Greens have a good group of people and they will get in the race and they will do a good job on race day because they are a quality group of people.

But I think that running Jeff in the IRL events at the beginning of the year is a big advantage because we have been able to work with the product. And running the last two years at Indianapolis has been a big help to us also. We have a working relationship with G Force that has been built over three years now. And we have a working relationship with our engine builder Comptech, Doug Peterson and his guys at Comptech, we have supported them from the start and they have supported us. So we have a good working relationship and that's what we do as a team, we support the people and work hard with the people hand-in-hand to get through the process here. So not to say the other people don't, but that's how Chip Ganassi Racing really functions, and Jeff Ward, Bruno, and Kenny have worked together like they have been together forever and I think that's part of our culture here. So that probably helps the program also, so we'll work hard to get the most out of it and I think working with the IRL all year long is a help.

Q: Bruno, has this hit you yet? Has the significance of the historical matter of the fact that you are the polesitter for the 86th running of the Indy 500 and that is something that will never go away and forever and ever you will be introduced as that?

Bruno Junqueira: Yeah, no doubt, but I am really pleased to be that, but I am a human being. You want to get to the next step, now I have to prepare myself to see if I can win the race.

Q: Mike, a couple years ago Juan Montoya used the same G Force and went out, was pretty dominant at the 500. How different is the setup on the car for Bruno than it was as compared to Juan, did they have similar driving styles and are they using similar setup? Might we see the same type of performance as we saw two years ago?

Mike Hull: (Laughs) I will try to answer all those questions maybe in reverse order.

We would like to have the same performance with Bruno (laughs) a couple of Sundays from now because that will help Bruno be introduced as the Indianapolis 500-winner instead of the polesitter.

The car itself that -- the gen -- I don't know, the genealogy of the car, Mark, from two years ago is quite significant. The car has changed a lot, and it's followed the development of the additional horsepower that we have available to us now versus two years ago. The tires have changed over the last couple of seasons, and then G Force themselves have learned a lot about their race car. In each year when you get the update or the development kit from them for the new year, that incorporates what they have learned from the previous year.

So really the only thing that we have in common as a race team between Juan and Bruno is the fact that they were both test drivers at Williams. And we have a completely different setup now. I mean, it is a whole different game, and we approach it the same way.

Their driving styles are very similar to answer your second question there, I think in line, and we want to go out and work as a team to have the same results.

Bruno Junqueira: (Inaudible)  same setup, because I think 222, 223 on the
qualifying.  If 222, it will be far away to get a spot on the grid.

Mike Hull: We would be going somewhere else if that was the case.

Bruno Junqueira: Yeah.

Q: Another question for you. You have the opportunity to work with engine manufacturers in CART and now they have a lease engine deal and I believe you pretty much get the same engines as all the other teams using the same manufacturer, you have had the opportunity to work with the IRL and you are working with a - I call it - a rebuilt shop, so to speak. Could you tell us the differences in working with the IRL engine rebuilders and what options you have as a person buying the engines or at least -- or leasing the engines, whatever you are doing, is it the same or is there a difference?

Mike Hull: I think to answer your question, I think the average team, if it were involved on an equal basis on the lease program, in other words, financial -- if everything were available equally, let's say on a financial basis to every team on the grid, based on what the engine manufacturers have done, over the years, I think you are better off with a lease program because the development is spread through all the customers on an equal basis. And a guy that -- every guy, no matter how large or small his team is, he's going to have the same development parts in his engine as the next guy does. That's the biggest difference.

In terms of performance on race day, I don't think there's a large difference in performance on race day. But I think overall, the degree of comfort you have as a race team is a lot better if you have a lease program because you know that the manufacturer is going to support you as well as everybody else on a weekly basis and you don't have to be constantly be going back wondering what is going on.

Now with our program with Comptech we have pushed those guys very hard for what we can have as a race team. They work closely with General Motors and the guys at General Motors have fully supported Doug Peterson for a long time so we feel assured that we have the same parts in the kit with what they have, let's say, I don't know how to say it, as Buddy Lazier or Sam Hornish's Motors, we feel we have the same parts that those guys have in their motors. But we don't know for a fact that that is the case, but General Motors assures us that that's the case. We work hard with our guy to make that happen.

But the growth of what we do with the manufacturers helping us lease program does really, really push that program along.

Q: Bruno, how would you rank -- I came five minutes late. I hope nobody asked this question yet. How would you rank your Indy 500 pole versus your two wins in CART? Is this your biggest achievement so far or do you view winning the races a bigger achievement?

Bruno Junqueira: My biggest achievement is the next one that I am going to get.

Q: You have had one year's experience in the IRL chassis and setups and all. How much does this car differ from the chassis you are running in CART and what changes do you have to make in your setup basically to get it to run?

Mike Hull: I don't know, we're looking at each other. I don't have a clue. We'll let Bruno go first because I don't have a clue.

Bruno Junqueira: The cars are pretty different apart from having four wheels, they are quite different.

Champ Cars, they have more power and less downforce. That means they have less aerodynamic pressure to keep the car on the track. That means for a simple (inaudible) fuel, the Champ Cars are faster on the straights and the IRL are faster on the corners. This makes the setups of the car a little bit different for just two things. One, because of the downforce and the engine combination and two, because they have different suspensions, angles, different roll bars, a lot of things are different of the Champ Cars; then you cannot really make exactly the same setup. The suspensions are different and everything. But in the end I would say, apart from the cars are a little bit different, in the end still have to drive for your cars and the principle for a driver's standpoint is pretty much the same.

Mike Hull: I will add to that and say, the obvious difference between an IRL car and a CART car is the configuration as Bruno referred to, but the thing that's in common between the two is the interchanges that the driver and his group of guys have. They work hard on the given day to optimize that package of parts. And what you view on your television, or in person, is a motor race, based on the fact that you have optimized your car. And it's quite unique or interesting for our guys to work together because we're able to -- we're not a one-dimensional team at this point. We're a multi-dimensional team and we get to learn a lot more and move a long a lot further in the mental process for what we like to do. We think that it improves our race team to be able to do it.

Merrill Cain: Let us open it up for questions. If you do have a question for either Bruno and Mike indicate that right now.

Q: Bruno, I just wondered if there were times last year whether you wondered whether you'd even last a year with the team or be back in a year?

Bruno Junqueira: I think racing and life is a circle. One day you are up, one day you are down. And I think you will have to manage your -- when you are on your high side to not be too -- you have to continue to work hard to keep on your high. When you are down you have to try to work out to be up again. I think life and racing, especially racing like this, one day you are really -- do really good; one day you real do really bad. A good driver is the one that manages to stay high as maximum as possible and when he goes down, has a lot of power inside, belief, and to go on the track again and do a good race. That's what I try to do.

Q: So you did have some down times and you were able to fight through it?

Bruno Junqueira: Yeah, for sure, last year I did some bad races. I wasn't feeling happy with myself, but luckily I had an opportunity to come back this year for Team Target and we're working hard to do much better than last year.

Merrill Cain: Gentlemen, thank you very much for joining us in the CART Media Teleconference this afternoon. We look forward to seeing you in action on May 26th at Indianapolis. We wish you the best of luck there. We'll be keeping a close eye on you and look forward to seeing you at the next CART event, Miller Lite 250 at the Milwaukee Mile on June 2. Thanks again, Bruno and Mike, for joining us this afternoon.

Mike Hull: Thank you, Merrill.

Bruno Junqueira: Thank you.

Merrill Cain: Thanks, we enjoyed it. We hope you did too. Stay tuned for further information on CART teleconferences coming up in the next couple of weeks.

-cart-

Indy 500 Pole Winning Driver/Team Part I

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Buddy Lazier , Jeff Ward , Arie Luyendyk , Helio Castroneves , Bruno Junqueira , Chip Ganassi , Mike Hull , A.J. Foyt , Doug Peterson
Teams Williams , Chip Ganassi Racing