CHAMPCAR/CART: Inaugural Women's Driver Development Test Concludes Successfully

BUTTONWILLOW, Calif. (February 16, 2000) - The overall consensus among the female drivers as they climbed from the MCI WorldCom/Toyota Atlantic race car following their respective stints in the inaugural Championship Auto Racing Teams' Women's...

BUTTONWILLOW, Calif. (February 16, 2000) - The overall consensus among the female drivers as they climbed from the MCI WorldCom/Toyota Atlantic race car following their respective stints in the inaugural Championship Auto Racing Teams' Women's Driver Development Program test session was, "It was amazing!"

"This was an opportunity of a lifetime," said Jenny Sheehy, 28, who resides in Faribault, Minnesota. "The team from PPI Motorsports was very professional and have given me great feedback. I've been racing all my life and my goal is to get a ride in the Toyota Atlantic series and I hope someday to get a shot in CART."

Announced last October 31, the Women's Driver Development Program allowed CART to work with one of the leaders in the world of women's sports, Lyn St. James, to identify drivers who exhibited the potential to become open-wheel racers in CART's FedEx Championship Series. A racer with more than 20 years of professional experience, St. James, who was also present at the test, raced in CART's Champ Car series from 1992 to 1995.

Each driver completed 72 laps on the 1.41-mile road circuit located 135 miles north of Los Angeles. The intent was not to see who was fastest among the three but rather to determine the potential for each to drive in one of CART's open-wheel racing series: the Toyota Atlantic Championship, the Dayton Indy Lights Championship or the ultimate goal, CART's FedEx Championship Series.

"The test sessions went extremely well," said Nick Harvey, PPI's Atlantic team manager. "We made a series of changes to each car and evaluated how each driver responded to those changes on the track. The three women responded very well to our feedback by being able to apply it on the track."

Each driver will be given a comprehensive, written evaluation of her performance in the test session that will assist her in her efforts to land drives, as well as sponsors, as her career progresses.

"It was fantastic * better than I could have ever imagined," said Juliana Chiovitti, 18, of Sutton, Ontario, Canada. "The car felt really good, especially at the end of my test session. I've learned so much from the crew at PPI Motorsports; they were great to work with."

Sara Senske, 21 who resides in Kennewick, Washington, had the opportunity to test in an Atlantic car this past year for Lynx Racing. She will be participating in the 2000 Barber-Dodge series. CART Women's Test Session a Success

"I was very excited to be chosen to test in the CART Women's Driver Development Program," said Senske. "It was an awesome experience. The car felt good. I'm very pleased with my performance."

Toyota, one of four engine manufacturers involved in CART's FedEx Championship Series, played a role in the test sessions for CART's inaugural African-American Driver Development Program last year, and is pleased to continue its support in this year's Women's Driver Development Program.

"This is a great opportunity for a talented group of female drivers to exhibit their driving skills," said Les Unger, national motorsports manager for Toyota. "We're very proud to be partners with CART and PPI Motorsports to develop an awareness that there are many talented women drivers trying to make careers in racing."

-CART-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar