CHAMPCAR/CART: Carpentier, Tagliani upbeat after testing

Montreal, Quebec, January 30, 2001 Off-season testing continues to bring a smile to the faces of Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani, as well as to their respective crews who are working diligently to prepare for the...

Montreal, Quebec, January 30, 2001 Off-season testing continues to bring a smile to the faces of Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani, as well as to their respective crews who are working diligently to prepare for the start of the 2001 FedEx CART Championship season on March 11.

"It's really been amazing," remarked Carpentier. "In six days of testing, there hasn't been a single problem. The car has been very stable and consistent and we've been able to accomplish a lot. We've been able to work on a lot of different things that we wouldn't ordinarily be able to on a race weekend."

Carpentier's latest testing session came last Wednesday and Thursday when he put in about 350 laps on the 1-mile Phoenix oval. Team Player's was one of several CART teams on the track during the two-day session and Carpentier was able to record lap times that were right in line with the sessions' fastest lap of 20.9 seconds.

"That served as a good benchmark to evaluate where we are," said Carpentier. "It was very encouraging to see that we were running at just about the fastest time, even though we were devoting our attention to set-ups rather than speed. The two days were really quite intensive and I wasn't a bit tired, which was an indication to me that my off-season physical training is paying off."

Tagliani and his Team Player's crew had the track to themselves for testing sessions last weekend on the 1.24-mile Firebird course in Phoenix. Tagliani, whose Saturday session was postponed by rain, managed to get in a combined 350 laps in sessions on Sunday and Monday.

"Throughout our off-season testing, the car has been consistent and very fast," said Tagliani. "We've been able to improve our performance each time out and I'm extremely confident it will be competitive when the racing season starts in a few weeks time."

Canadian Phil LePan, the Team Player's manager, said that Tagliani's session on Sunday was conducted in chilly temperatures and on a track that was still drying out from a morning rain.

"We ran on dry tires in the afternoon and we worked with Cosworth to see how the engine behaved under those conditions," explained LePan. "Even in the cold, the car was very reliable, so we're happy about that. We're also very pleased with the team spirit. There's a renewed enthusiasm and commitment. Everyone is fully focused. They know how important each of these tests are to create a solid base going into the season."

The next testing session for Team Player's is February 8-9, when Alex Tagliani will be putting in laps on the Homestead, Florida oval.

-Player's

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Patrick Carpentier