CHAMPCAR/CART: Ford-Cosworth XF Testing

With both the first road course tests and oval tests completed, the new Ford-Cosworth XF engine is proving to be as advertised. But, it's not just the horsepower output of the XF that is receiving rave reviews. More so, it's the smooth, ...

With both the first road course tests and oval tests completed, the new Ford-Cosworth XF engine is proving to be as advertised. But, it's not just the horsepower output of the XF that is receiving rave reviews. More so, it's the smooth, progressive power delivery characteristic of the XF which is allowing teams more flexibility with chassis setups that is garnering many of the accolades.

Ian Bisco, vice president, Cosworth Racing -- WITH THE FIRST WAVE OF TESTING OUT OF THE WAY, CAN YOU GIVE ME AN INITIAL ASSESSMENT OF THE XF PROGRAMS' STATUS? "Testing so far has been extremely encouraging. We are going to end up with a very good package for 2000. We are working through a few little things right now, but for a completely new engine, it has been a great run so far. All the feedback we are getting has been very positive."

CAN YOU COMPARE this stage in the development of the XF to it's PREDECESSOR, the XD? "Oh, we are way ahead of the XD. The performance is there, the reliability is there - for us to be where we are at this early in the testing schedule is phenomenal. It's really a testament to the hard work of the XF team here in Torrance, Calif. as well as the main design team that Bruce Wood heads up in the U.K. This new engine has the potential to be one of the best designed and performing engines Cosworth has ever developed, and that's saying something."

WHAT TYPE OF FEEDBACK HAVE YOU BEEN GETTING FROM THE DRIVERS? "They all agree that the power is so much more progressive and controllable. They also immediately noticed that the engine has more power. I talked with Neil Mickelwright at Player's Racing after their first test and although there were a few minor hiccups during the test, Neil said that to go to a two-day test with two cars and two engines and leave with the same two engines is very encouraging. Patrick Carpentier and the engineers at Player's are really excited because the XF is so incredibly smooth and predictable in regards to its performance that it will allow the team more flexibility with their chassis setups."

HAVE YOU DONE ANY MILEAGE RUNS YET? "Rahal put 200 miles on an engine and we took it out of his car and put in one of the Patrick Racing cars and ran it for another 200 miles. That's not common practice for us, but the engine was in such good condition after Rahal ran it that we saw an opportunity to put a good amount of miles on one engine. We needed to get miles on these engines because when the teams test this early on in the season with new cars they typically will go out, do a few laps, come in change a few things, work on the seat, things of than nature. So this was a chance for us to put some mileage on one engine and we took it."

WHAT WAS THE ENGINES CONDITION AFTER THAT FOUR HUNDRED MILE RUN? "It completed its target mileage without any major issues. The engine was in great condition and could have gone further."

What the drivers are saying . . .

Adrian Fernandez -40- Tecate/Quaker State Ford-Cosworth -- YOU RAN ALMOST 200 MILES ON THE SECOND DAY IN HOMESTEAD AND TOTALED 400 MILES OVER THE TWO DAY TEST. WHAT IS YOUR IMPRESSION OF THE FIRST OVAL TEST WITH THE NEW CAR AND ENGINE? "Both of our tests have been trouble free and we have learned a lot about the new Ford-Cosworth/Reynard package. We have made a lot of changes, tried a lot of different things and gotten a lot of good data. It is still a little early to say how good we are going to be, but I am very happy with the results so far and every indication is that the car is very good and very competitive. The test went so well that were able to end a day early. With the new testing rules, being able to save that day may be a big help down the road. " WHAT IS YOUR IMPRESSION OF THE NEW HANDFORD DEVICE ON SMALL OVALS? "This is the first time we have used the Hanford device on the smaller ovals and the cars are definitely slower. But the new Ford-Cosworth engine is nice and very smooth which helps with rolling in and out of the corners and with the predictability of the package, we can try things we may not have in the past."

Patrick Carpentier -32- Player's Ford-Cosworth - YOU AND YOUR TEAMMATE, ALEX TAGLIANI, POSTED SOME OF THE FASTEST TIMES OF THE DRIVERS WHO TESTED AT HOMESTEAD OVER THE WEEKEND. WHAT IS YOUR OVERALL IMPRESSION OF THE NEW FORD/REYNARD PACKAGE? "I was very happy with the test and with the power that the Ford engine had. The way the power comes on is so manageable."

IT SEEMS THE POWER DELIVERY, OR DRIVEABILITY, OF THE NEW XF ENGINE IS ALLOWING TEAMS THE FLEXIBILITY TO TRY MORE CHASSIS' SETUPS. IS THAT THE CASE WITH YOUR TEAM TOO? "Yes, it is. Even on ovals now, because we are running slower and using the brakes a little more, having the flexibility to try different things is really helpful and I think our quick times in Homestead are proof of that."

WHAT ARE YOUR IMPRESSIONS OF THE NEW SHORT OVAL HANDFORD DEVICE? "I like it. It does what it was designed to do, slow the cars down. I think you are going to see a lot more passing which should make for some very exciting racing."

ARE WE GOING TO SEE PASSING LIKE WE DO WHEN THE SERIES VISITS MICHIGAN OR FONTANA? "Not that much. The tracks are a little bit tighter. I followed Paul Tracy around Homestead and found it to be a little harder to get around him there than at say the tracks we ran the Handford device at last year. But it will definitely make the racing more interesting."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Patrick Carpentier , Paul Tracy