This May, Newman/Haas Racing CART rookie driver Sebastien Bourdais and his engineer Craig Hampson were among those slithering through the pre-grid before the 87th running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. "We intend to be here next year,"...
This May, Newman/Haas Racing CART rookie driver Sebastien Bourdais and his engineer Craig Hampson were among those slithering through the pre-grid before the 87th running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. "We intend to be here next year," Hampson said at the time.
Today Newman/Haas Racing announced they are in the process of "finalizing details for an upcoming Indy car test", hoping to compete in the 88th running of the seminal 500-mile race at the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.
The team expects to be using a package similar to that of the Ganassi and Mo Nunn IRL squads for the test at the 2-mile California Speedway oval in Fontana, where both CART's Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford and the Indy Racing League's IndyCar Series compete. "This is a courtesy to a good friend," said one Toyota operative, "who want to keep their options open."
Current #1 PacifiCare NHR driver Bruno Junqueira, who holds second place in the Champ Car title chase heading into this weekend's Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver, would drive the car during this test. Junqueira earned pole position for the 2002 Indy 500 while competing for Chip Ganassi's Team Target.
"If the logistics, sponsorship and engineering components can be put together," said Carl Has, co-owner of Newman/Haas Racing along with Paul Newman, "the team will attempt to qualify for the 2004 Indianapolis 500. We need some test time and don't want to take on this challenge without adequate preparation," Haas declared.
Newman/Haas Racing won the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series title with current Toyota Formula One driver Cristiano da Matta. The team's strong ties to Toyota, who clinched their first IndyCar Series Manufacturers title at Nazareth last weekend, should give a few clues as to the equipment involved in this test.