CHAMPCAR/CART: Gold Coast Tony Kanaan Preview

With Tony Kanaan clinching the Rookie of the Year Award and wrapping up its fourth Indy Lights Championship title at Vancouver, Tasman Motorsports is having one of its best seasons-to-date. The 86 points accumulated in the Champ Car standings...

With Tony Kanaan clinching the Rookie of the Year Award and wrapping up its fourth Indy Lights Championship title at Vancouver, Tasman Motorsports is having one of its best seasons-to-date. The 86 points accumulated in the Champ Car standings thus far represent an all-time high for the team.

"I think the key is that we work together very well," said Kanaan, "and we treat each other like a family all the time. I think that's very important. It takes a lot of pressure off myself because I know I am at home. If I make a mistake, I am going to have a lot of support.

"We need to just keep working hard as a team, and we need to find a bit more money to do more testing for next year. With a little bit more experience and more confidence, I am going to do everything I can to be at the top of the podium all of the time next year. Then we can start thinking about winning championships."

When the Champ Car teams converge on Surfers Paradise in Queensland, Australia for Round 18 of the FedEx Championship Series, it will be six months later than the normal March/April race date of years past.

"That might actually have different demands on the setup depending on basic temperature and also whether or not there is any rain," explained engineer Diane Holl.

"For us, this is the first time we will have been to Surfers with a Reynard chassis. Obviously, a different chassis means different things in terms of setup. The track has a number of chicanes and long straights, so you have to set up the car to be able to go through the chicanes very quickly. You have to have a very nimble car, and traction is very important here. We are going with a package that we've run which is comparable to Vancouver or Houston because the tracks are not dissimilar.

"The gearbox is very vulnerable here because there are so many gear changes. This is one of the highest braking tracks because you go from a high speed to a very low speed through the very, very tight corners and/or chicanes. Braking is of paramount importance and we will be running most probably the largest brake ducts that Reynard supply to get as much cooling as we can into the brakes."

Tony Kanaan has been practicing his Aussie lingo. While he won't be out having a night on the turps (night on the town) or cracking a tinnie (having a beer), he is planning to don his cozzy (swimsuit) and enjoy the beautiful beaches of Surfers Paradise while hoping for a bonzer (great) weekend at the track.

"This will be my first time in Australia, my first time at the race track," said Kanaan. "I'm looking forward to going there. It looks like my type of track. I love street courses. This is the last road course (race) of the year. It's going to be my last chance to try to win a race on the road course. I'm going to try. I already won the rookie award, so I don't have to worry about which place I have to finish to clinch the title."

-------------------------- Internet Access Australia-------------------------- --- IAA is MNI's ISP of choice at the '98 Gold Coast Indy --- ---- Melbourne -- Tel. 03 9686 6677 -- Fax 03 9686 6644 ----- ------------------ http://www.iaccess.com.au ---------------------

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Kanaan