MONTEREY, Ca. (August 25, 2000) - Marlboro Team Penske's Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Honda Reynard) established a new unoffical course record Friday in the final day of a two-day CART open test at Laguna Seca Raceway. Castroneves, who has...
MONTEREY, Ca. (August 25, 2000) - Marlboro Team Penske's Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Honda Reynard) established a new unoffical course record Friday in the final day of a two-day CART open test at Laguna Seca Raceway.
Castroneves, who has claimed two FedEx Championship Series victories this season and currently sits eighth in the season points standings (81 points), posted a quick lap of 67.602 sec. (119.180 mph) in today's afternoon session. The previous track record at Laguna Seca was set in 1997 by Bryan Herta, who turned a lap of 67.895 sec. (118.666 mph) to claim the pole position for that season's CART event.
"I'm kind of surprised really," said Castroneves after learning that he'd established the record. "Our goal was to come here today and go faster than (Thursday's) time and I guess we did that. We worked to get the car where it needed to be and now the car is really, really fast."
Despite the record-setting effort and the fact that Castroneves posted the third-fastest time in Thursday's test session, the Brazilian native said the team certainly met some challenges during the test. "We had lots of problems with the car and that's the good thing about a test like this, you're able to take the time and fix the problems," said Castroneves. "If this had happened on race weekend it would've been very tough for us."
Gil de Ferran (Marlboro Honda Reynard), Castroneves' teammate, recorded the second-fastest lap at the test. He posted a time of 67.896 sec. (118.664 mph) to top Friday's morning session.
"We're in pretty good shape," said de Ferran. "We tried a lot of things that we set out to try and the most important thing is that we tested well here over the two days which bodes well for the race weekend."
The Champ Cars return to Laguna Seca on September 10 to compete in the 16th round of the FedEx Championship Series, the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey Featuring the Shell 300.
After setting the pace with the top time in Thursday's session, Patrick Carpentier (Player's Indeck Ford Reynard) finished with the third-best time overall for the test with a lap of 68.477 sec. (117.657 mph), established Friday morning.
"It was a good test," said Carpentier. "The team's happy, I'm happy. The car's pretty stable so I think we're going to have a good weekend when we come back here for the race."
Tony Kanaan (Hollywood Mercedes Reynard) had the fourth-best time at the test with a lap of 68.576 sec. (117.487 mph) while current series points leader Michael Andretti (Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford Lola) completed the top five after turning a lap of 68.669 sec. (117.328 mph).
The remainder of the best laps from the two-day test were as follows: Oriol Servia (Telefonica Toyota Reynard), 68.707 sec. (117.263 mph); Christian Fittipaldi (Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford Lola), 68.734 sec. (117.217 mph); Mark Blundell (Motorola Mercedes Reynard), 68.763 sec. (117.168 mph); Juan Montoya (Target Toyota Reynard), 68.789 sec. (117.123 mph); Jimmy Vasser (Target Toyota Lola), 68.803 sec. (117.100 mph); Michel Jourdain Jr. (Herdez Mercedes Lola), 68.892 sec. (116.948 mph); Max Papis (Miller Lite Ford Reynard), 68.941 sec. (116.865 mph); Alex Tagliani (Player's Indeck Ford Reynard), 69.004 sec. (116.758 mph); Roberto Moreno (Visteon Ford Reynard), 69.080 sec. (116.630 mph); Dario Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard), 69.197 sec. (116.433 mph); Mauricio Gugelmin (Nextel Mercedes Reynard), 69.315 sec. 116.235 mph); Adrian Fernandez (Tecate/Quaker State Ford Reynard), 69.375 sec. (116.134 mph); Kenny Brack (Shell Ford Reynard), 69.494 sec. (115.935 mph); Scott Dixon (Nextel Mercedes Reynard), 69.521 sec. (115.890 mph); Cristiano da Matta (Pioneer/MCI WorldCom Toyota Reynard), 69.600 sec. (115.759 mph); Shinji Nakano (Avex Honda Reynard), 69.842 sec. (115.358 mph); Alex Barron (SPORTSTODAY Ford Lola), 69.905 sec. (115.254 mph); Tarso Marques (Panasonic Ford Swift), 70.687 sec. (113.979 mph); Luiz Garcia Jr. (Hollywood/Embratel/Tang/BancoSofisa Mercedes Reynard), 70.802 sec. (113.793 mph).
A number of minor incidents interrupted testing on Friday causing 14 red flags to be displayed. The final incident involved contact between the cars driven by Castroneves and Fittipaldi, which ended the afternoon session prematurely by approximately five minutes. Over the course of the two-day test there were 25 red-flag incidents with no injuries to any of the drivers.