CHAMPCAR/CART: Christian Fittipaldi concludes testing, ready for season

Newman/Haas Racing Completes 2002 Pre-Season Test Program Today at The Miami-Dade Homestead Road Course - Team Now Switches Focus to Defending Their Tecate-Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix Victory HOMESTEAD, Fla. (February 22, 2002) --- Christian ...

Newman/Haas Racing Completes 2002 Pre-Season Test Program Today at The Miami-Dade Homestead Road Course - Team Now Switches Focus to Defending Their Tecate-Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix Victory

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (February 22, 2002) --- Christian Fittipaldi completed the second of a two-day test at the 2.1-mile Miami-Dade Homestead road course today as well concluded the pre-season test program for Newman/Haas Racing. The team has now switched their focus to defending their 2001 season-opening CART FedEx Championship series victory in the Tecate-Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix on Sunday, March 10 and scoring their ninth win in a season-opener in their 20th year.

During the test, Fittipaldi ran trouble-free for both days and logged a total of 85 laps on Thursday and 95 today in his Toyota-Lola. Over the two days, his best lap time was 1:08.0 on the road course.

"Overall the test was good because we ran the maximum amount of time possible and were able to learn some things," said Fittipaldi. "Since it was our last test before the start of the season, we didn't concentrate on overall speed as much as we concentrated on different set-ups. After analyzing the strengths and weaknesses from last season, we concentrated on specific areas that needed improvement and we have made some gains in those areas. There is more depth to our already strong engineering department and the crew is as motivated as ever even after many late nights. We're all ready for this season to start. Right now, everyone can be the 2002 CART FedEx Champion. If we can have the kind of consistency we had in the first half of 1999 we can be a contender at the end of the year."

Fittipaldi's teammate Cristiano da Matta, driver of the Havoline Toyota-Lola, completed his final pre-season testing on February 12 and 14 at the Firebird East road course after setting the fastest laps times in each of the four sessions at the annual CART Sneak Preview. Following that, da Matta made a brief promotional appearance for CART in Monterrey, Mexico on February 18-19 before heading south to his home in Belo Horizonte, Brazil for a final visit before his challenge for the 2002 Championship.

Newman/Haas Racing, owned by actor/race car driver Paul Newman and racing entrepreneur Carl A. Haas, competes in the CART FedEx Championship Series. The team will begin their 20th season in the series in 2002 as the most successful active competitor with 61 race wins and 63 pole positions. For more information log on to www.newman-haas.com, www.texaco.com/racing or www.cart.com. The 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series season kicks off March 10 at Monterrey, Mexico and the 19-race schedule will be broadcast by new television partners, CBS and Fox Cable Networks Group, including Speedvision/Speed Channel.

-NHR-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Newman , Cristiano da Matta