DE FERRAN AND HATTORI TEAM UP AT LAGUNA Gil de Ferran and Naoki Hattori made their first official appearance together as teammates for Walker Racing, December 2-4 at Laguna Seca. Testing for both Honda and Goodyear in the 1998 racing...
DE FERRAN AND HATTORI TEAM UP AT LAGUNA
Gil de Ferran and Naoki Hattori made their first official appearance together as teammates for Walker Racing, December 2-4 at Laguna Seca. Testing for both Honda and Goodyear in the 1998 racing package, the drivers combined did approximately 400 miles in total around the 2.238-mile road course.
De Ferran piloted the test on December 2nd and 3rd and turned over the wheel to his new teammate for the last day of the session. De Ferran posted a best lap time of 69.4 seconds at 116 mph, while Hattori toured the course with a best lap time of 72.5 seconds at 111 mph. The two drivers did their share of "bonding", with de Ferran offering a few helpful coaching tips along the way to the CART rookie, Hattori.
Derrick Walker: "Our second test into the new season was interrupted slightly by rain on the second day, but nevertheless, Gil completed a large portion of Goodyear's tire testing list and Honda's engine development. Naoki took over and really got underway on the third day of the test, when the weather cooperated more. I was very pleased with his (Hattori's) progress. Laguna was a lot more challenging for him than his first test at Firebird."
Naoki Hattori: "It was very cold today (Friday) so I got to work on warming tires and learned more about how tire temperature affects control and braking. I could understand Gil's technical explanations, and we seemed to come to an agreement on what the car was doing. I think Gil is a very good driver, and I learned a lot by listening to him communicate over the radio with the team engineers. I think I can learn a lot from his technical experience."
Gil de Ferran: "We got some good track time on the first day, during which we were able to do work for Goodyear. The best part of it was driving the car again after taking the month of November off. It is always a reminder why I like racing so much! Obviously, this was the first test I shared with Naoki, and it seems he's a fast leaner and nice guy. If the first test is anything to go by, hopefully we'll have a fruitful and friendly year ahead of us."
De Ferran and Hattori will get another opportunity to work together next week at Walker Racing's next test session, scheduled for December 8-10 at Homestead. It will be Hattori's first oval champ car test for Walker Racing.