Phoenix, Arizona, February 28, 2001 - Team Player's wrapped up its testing program with an impressive display this week as drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani posted their fastest lap times of the off-season on the Firebird East road...
Phoenix, Arizona, February 28, 2001 - Team Player's wrapped up its testing program with an impressive display this week as drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani posted their fastest lap times of the off-season on the Firebird East road course and Homestead oval respectively.
Tagliani completed his off-season sessions last Sunday in Florida, when he ran 165 laps on the 1.5-mile Homestead oval and clocked a 26.2-second fast lap, more than one and a-half seconds faster than his previous best time on that track this winter.
Carpentier emulated his teammate's success during a two-day testing session at Firebird East in Phoenix, Arizona on Monday and Tuesday. Carpentier put in about the same number of laps and registered a fast lap of 46.65 seconds. That was a half-second better than Team Player's previous off-season sessions on the Firebird East course.
"We had the two biggest days of our off-season testing," remarked Carpentier. "I was more aggressive at Firebird than I've been all winter. I looked at this session like it was a qualifying session for our first race. The fact that the car and engine performed this well on a road course is encouraging for the first race in Monterrey, which is also on a road course. It looks like we're definitely ready to go, and I feel great about it."
Tagliani echoed the sentiments of his teammate. Referring to his final testing session of the winter, Tagliani said: "It was an awesome way to finish off the testing before the start of the season. We managed to take 1.5 seconds off our previous fastest lap, and we did it without the updated version of the Ford engine."
Team Player's manager Phil LePan said a great deal of emphasis was put on the engine during the two-day session at Firebird East. The data from the adjustments that were made to the engine has been sent back to the shop and Team Player's will be setting up the engine for the first race of the year in Monterrey on March 11 based on the data it accumulated from the Firebird sessions.
Team Player's technical director Bruce Ashmore was also pleased with the work both drivers have put in during the off-season. "They've shown intensity and a strong work ethic in every session. I was impressed with both Pat and Alex's ability to pick out the changes in the car and their ability to communicate them to the engineers. That's been a big factor in the improvements we've made to the cars."
Summing up the team's off-season testing program, LePan declared: "We had certain expectations and goals for this year's testing and we achieved most everything we set out to do without any setbacks. That's very encouraging."