CHAMPCAR/CART: Las Vegas test notes

Bruno Junqueira Leads Champ Car World Series Testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway LAS VEGAS (August 18, 2004) -- The Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford will make its first-ever visit to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway...

Bruno Junqueira Leads Champ Car World Series Testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

LAS VEGAS (August 18, 2004) -- The Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford will make its first-ever visit to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway oval on September 24-25 and when they do, the teams will be using lessons learned in Wednesday's open test as they head for the front. Fifteen of the 18 cars in the Champ Car lineup took advantage of a full day of testing on the 1.5-mile LVMS superspeedway oval, starting the day under heavy clouds and 95-degree heat, and finishing the day turning laps under the lights. The nighttime practice was especially vital as the Las Vegas Champ Car 400 will be run after sundown on the 25th, as the 750hp turbocharged Champ Cars hit the track after the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event, marking the first-ever doubleheader between a NASCAR series and Champ Car.

Bruno Junqueira (#6 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) topped the time charts on the day, posting a best lap of 26.538 seconds (203.482 mph). Every one of the cars that tested on Wednesday picked up the pace in the night session with 10 of the 15 cars reaching the 200-mph mark. Junqueira and his Newman/Haas teammate Sebastien Bourdais (#2 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) were the busiest drivers on the day with Bourdais making 151 laps while Junqueira came in at 137.

Many of those laps, especially those turned late in the session, were run in traffic as the teams looked to see how their cars would react in the wake of another machine. The cars were able to run side-by-side into the corners and nose-to-tail on the straights, leading drivers to forecast an exciting event when the flag falls for real on September 25.

"There are probably three lines around this track but the bottom is definitely the fast way around," said series points leader Bourdais, who was second-quickest on the day. "You can come up on other guys and the car pretty much reacts the same way in traffic as it does on its own. It should make for an exciting race."

Seven teams turned over 100 laps on an incident-free day as they looked for the optimal setup for the race weekend. Patrick Carpentier (#7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) hung the third-best lap of the day on the field with a top time of 26.604 seconds (202.977 mph) while former sportscar driver Guy SmithK (#17 Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) was the top rookie in the field with a time of 26.725 seconds (202.058 mph). Mario Dominguez (#55 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) was directly behind Smith on the charts and was pleased with the day-long test.

"The car was pretty good in traffic and I felt pretty good with how it felt all day," he said. "I think for sure when we come here next time there will be a couple of lines and some good places to make some moves."

-ccws-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Guy Smith , Bruno Junqueira , Patrick Carpentier , Sébastien Bourdais