CHAMPCAR/CART: Homestead Test 98-12-09

NAOKI HATTORI TESTS AT HOMESTEAD FOR MARLBORO GRAND PRIX OF MIAMI HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Dec. 9) - Naoki Hattori, preparing for the season-opening CART FedEx Championship Series race at the Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex on March...

NAOKI HATTORI TESTS AT HOMESTEAD FOR MARLBORO GRAND PRIX OF MIAMI

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Dec. 9) - Naoki Hattori, preparing for the season-opening CART FedEx Championship Series race at the Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex on March 21, concluded a two-day test today behind the wheel of the Walker Racing Valvoline/Cummins Reynard-Honda. It was the veteran Japanese driver's first oval course action in a Champ car. South Florida's 1.5-mile state-of the art oval will host the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami Presented by Toyota on March 21. It will be preceded by CART's fourth annual Spring Training Feb. 2-4. "We had a very good test," said Hattori, who unofficially turned a fast lap of 208.494 mph (25.9 seconds). "This was my first experience on an oval in a Championship car. It's a very big change from Indy Lights, especially the engine power and maximum speed. "My goal for the year is I hope to win Rookie of the Year. This is a very competitive series, and I know I will have many competitors, but that is my goal." Hattori, 32, was the first driver of the PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship "Class of '98" to graduate to the FedEx Championship Series ranks when he was selected to drive for Walker Racing in October. One of Japan's most popular drivers, Hattori has raced and won in a variety of open-wheel, sports car and touring car championships in his native country. He won the 1990 Japanese Formula 3 championship, and a pair of All-Japan Touring Car championships. Hattori has two Formula One starts in Japan and Australia in 1991. He competed in the Indy Lights series the last two years, with his best finish a second earlier this year at Toronto. "I've driven in Formula One and Group C, and raced at LeMans, but I think this test was the fastest I've ever driven," Hattori explained with a big smile. Prior to the two-day test at Homestead, Hattori tested for Walker Racing on the road circuits at Firebird and Laguna Seca. Tickets are now on sale for the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami Presented by Toyota. For additional information, call (305) 230-5249.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Naoki Hattori