CHAMPCAR/CART: Fern?ndez Racing Sebring Thursday test notes

Fernández Racing Wraps Up Positive Sebring Test SEBRING, Fla. (January 24, 2002) -- Fernández Racing concluded its test session at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla., today, and both Adrián Fernández and Shinji Nakano were...

Fernández Racing Wraps Up Positive Sebring Test

SEBRING, Fla. (January 24, 2002) -- Fernández Racing concluded its test session at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla., today, and both Adrián Fernández and Shinji Nakano were pleased with the progress made over the two-day outing as the team prepares for the start of the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series.

Fernández added another 90 laps to his Sebring tally, running a total of 284 miles over the course of the test. His #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Lola/Bridgestone made its first on-track appearance today after a fuel cell problem relocated Fernández to Nakano's car yesterday.

"It was a very productive, very good test," said Fernández. "We ran a lot of miles and worked on a lot of areas. My best lap was a 51.2 and, to be honest, I felt that on old tires we were pretty damn fast. We did two runs on new tires and there were a few problems, so we have a couple of things we need to sort out yet. We basically ran out of time. I feel we are very, very competitive compared to everyone else, especially with this being our first two days here in Sebring."

Shinji Nakano took to the wheel of the #52 Alpine/Mitsuba Honda/Lola/Bridgestone after a two-week break, and was happy to get back to testing. Nakano, who continues with race engineer Martin Paré this season, logged just over 70 laps today, posting a best lap time of 51.8.

"It was a good learning day," said Nakano. "We made a lot of changes to the car and I am happy with the way it was responding. I only had one good run with new tires, and could have used another 15 or 20 laps at the end. But, like Adrian said, we ran out of time. I learned a lot about the car and the engine today, and I feel we had a good test."

Co-owner/Technical Director Don Halliday, who serves as race engineer for Fernández, continued to be impressed with the team's development of its 2002 equipment package: "The test was extremely informative from what we found with the new combination of engine and car, and car alone. As an engineering exercise, it was good and we learned a lot. We had some problems with new tires, so Adrián didn't get to do what we think he could have done. The 51.2 was on really old tires. We still have things that we know we have to resolve, but we have also resolved a lot of things. On well-used tires, he was extremely competitive from what we saw out there."

Fernández Racing was in full force today following the arrival of Co-owner/Managing Director Tom Anderson, who missed yesterday's on-track activities due to a CART Owner's Meeting.

"We ran a lot of laps, and this was the first time the #51 car had run," said Anderson. "I am really satisfied given the fact that this is a new package for us. I understand that Don [Halliday] worked with Lola last year, but that was with a different engine, so this is a brand new package.

"We had 100 percent reliability out of Honda throughout the test so there were no engine problems. It was a great test where we could actually, even on the first day of running a brand new car, start working on the chassis itself. I am really pleased from that reliability standpoint, and I think we have an opportunity now to go to [Sneak Preview at] Laguna Seca and get some real work done."

Anderson was equally pleased with the Owner's Meeting: "It's obvious to me that [new CART President and CEO] Chris Pook is a leader -- on how he conducts a meeting and how he is able to respond immediately to questions asked by the owners. It was probably the most positive Owner's Meeting that I have ever attended."

At the same Owner's Meeting, it was also confirmed that Fernández Racing had been granted franchise team status.

"Adrian, Don and I are extremely excited about being granted the two franchises yesterday," added Anderson. "It gives us two votes in the voting process of the Franchise Board, so we now feel more a part of the CART community than we did last year, when we were allowed to observe but not vote."

The next stop for Fernández Racing is CART's Sneak Preview beginning February 7th at Mazda Raceway of Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., which features two days of media activity in addition to two full days of on-track testing.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Shinji Nakano , Tom Anderson , Chris Pook