Andreas Wirth, Richard Philippe and Lawson Aschenbach Complete Successful Test in a Forsythe Champ Car Angleton, Texas -- November 29th, 2006 -- The 2006 Champ Car World Series Season is now over but the Forsythe Team has not slowed down one bit.
Andreas Wirth, Richard Philippe and Lawson Aschenbach Complete Successful Test in a Forsythe Champ Car
Angleton, Texas -- November 29th, 2006 -- The 2006 Champ Car World Series Season is now over but the Forsythe Team has not slowed down one bit. This week the blue and white transporters headed south from their Indianapolis headquarters to Houston, Texas where three up and coming young drivers had the chance to put some of the last laps on the Team's Lolas B2K00 before switching to the new Panoz DP01 for next year.
Andreas Wirth and Richard Philippe spent most of the 2006 season behind the wheel of their Forsythe Atlantic machines in what turned out to be one of the most exciting and competitive years in the history of the Champ Car Atlantic Championship, the premier open-wheel development series in North America. Lawson Aschenbach's 2006 season was spent competing in the SPEED GT Championship in a Porsche 911 GT3. This week the young trio got a chance to further develop their skills and help the Team prepare for the 2007 Season by strapping on to one of Forsythe's 750 horsepower turbo-charged Champ Cars and completing a full test day each at the MSR Houston Road Course.
Wirth finished third in the Champ Car Atlantic Championship this year with back to back opening round wins at Long Beach and Houston, 2 Poles, and 6 Podium finishes. He also made his Champ Car debut this year with Dale Coyne Racing competing in the last 2 rounds of the 2006 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, scoring a 9th place finish in Australia.
2005 Formula BMW USA Champion Philippe graduated to Champ Car Atlantic at the tender age of 16, becoming the youngest driver in the Series. He went on to become a consistent front runner having his best qualifying effort of third at Cleveland, and scoring his first career Podium at the same event by finishing second.
After successful karting, Formula 2000, and Formula BMW USA seasons Aschenbach competed in the 2006 SPEED GT Championship and became the first ever rookie Champion capturing his first career victory at St. Petersburg, finishing on the Podium three times, and never scoring outside the Top 10. At the same time the 23 year old also managed to earn a Bachelor of Science degree from Vanderbilt University in Engineering and Mathematics.
"It's great to be back in a Forsythe Champ Car and especially around this track that is so much fun and so physical. We were able to test a lot of things for the team, we had an extensive test plan and it all went very well. Unfortunately when we tried to go a little faster we had some problems; I was out with new tires and on my third lap the car started to get very loose, which isn't normal because usually that's when the tires grip the most. So I came in and the mechanics discovered that I had picked up a small screwdriver somewhere around the track and it had completely gone through the tire. So we ran out of tires and weren't able to get the most speed out of the car.
I'm very thankful that the Forsythe Team chose me again for their testing program and trusted me with one of their Champ Cars. Overall it was a good test, I'm happy. This is where I want to be next year so every test day gets me better prepared for the 2007 season."
"Everything went pretty well; basically we just spent the day testing a bunch of things for the team and not really working on the car that much. But I was actually pretty pleased because I managed to get up to speed pretty quickly and run competitive laps. I had tested a Champ Car for Forsythe during the pre-season and having a full year of Atlantics under my belt has definitely helped me. One of the main things I've learned is how to use the aerodynamics of the car; it's very different than driving a car without downforce. I mean it's still a huge step but the Atlantics definitely help prepare you for Champ Car. So overall it was a good day, I really enjoyed working with the Forsythe Team and I hope I can get back in a Champ Car soon."
"That was an amazing experience! These cars are just incredible, they handle like a dream! It takes a while to get used to it, especially the breaking power that you have at your disposal. Also I had never driven a car with downforce so that also took some getting used to, basically the faster you go the more grip you have. You get to a point in a corner when you think you are at the limit and then you go faster and the car just gets better and better.
I had set some goals for myself before the test, basically I just wanted to make sure I kept it on the track and that I got up to speed in a safe manner. At the end I gave it all I had and with our last set of new tires I was getting pretty tired. More than anything this experience really opened up my eyes to how fit you have to be to race in Champ Car, it was a lot more physical than I expected.
I have to thank the Forsythe Team for giving me this amazing opportunity. They gave me a great car and everybody just made my job so easy, I really appreciate it."
Phil LePan, Team Manager
"Overall it was a very productive test for our team. The purpose of this test wasn't to evaluate drivers; our goal was to test some components that we are working on for next year mostly for our data collection system. The first day we ran one car with Richard Philippe and the second day two cars with Andreas Wirth and Lawson Aschenbach. It was a pretty uneventful test, everything went as planned, we managed to get through our test plan without any complications and now we'll go back to the shop and evaluate the data."