INDIANAPOLIS (February 22, 2002) - Herdez Competition and rookie driver Mario DomÃnguez completed their pre-season testing schedule yesterday with a two-day test at Sebring International Raceway in Florida. Completing 107 laps on Wednesday and ...
INDIANAPOLIS (February 22, 2002) - Herdez Competition and rookie driver Mario Domínguez completed their pre-season testing schedule yesterday with a two-day test at Sebring International Raceway in Florida. Completing 107 laps on Wednesday and another 87 on Thursday, the team posted a new best time of 51.20 seconds for this track.
"Overall, I think the test went very well", Domínguez reported. "The car we had when we got to Sebring was very good but we made it a lot better during the test. We improved our best time by a tenth of a second - which was great since the track was not nearly as fast this time around with only two cars testing."
The focus of these two days was fully on preparation for the CART FedEx Championship Series opener in Monterrey, Mexico in just two weeks (March 8-10). While not everything went according to plan, everyone was pragmatic about the teething problems.
"We had planned to do a full race-distance simulation", Domínguez explained. "But that was cut short by a fuel pump problem. It was a little frustrating but it's better for this to happen at a test than during the actual race! We were able to practice some `hot' pit stops - I'm pretty good at getting out of the box but I'm still working on coming in. We did do some work on the traction control system with the help of our Ford-Cosworth Engineer, Nadine Haupt. As a driver, I think you need to be careful with it because if you use it too much, it will slow you down rather than help you. It's not 100% fine-tuned yet but we made good progress and it was a good experience for me."
Domínguez continued, "I came away from the test very happy with the results. Of course I'm still learning about driving a Champ Car but the more I drive, the better I feel. I'm very confident on the engineering side of the equation with the team at Herdez Competition. Especially in the last couple of tests, we have learned so much and made a lot of progress. I'm comfortable with the car, the team, the engineering. The team has really made me feel at home. I feel ready for Monterrey."
Herdez Competition Managing Director declared the test a success. "Considering the conditions, the improvement we made in the lap time was probably more significant than one-tenth on the clock. I'm really quite pleased with the progress we've made recently. We learned some very interesting things in these sessions relative to the variations that stem from the differences between the 2001 and 2002 Lola chassis. Mario seems more confident every time he goes out so we're feeling pretty confident that we're ready for the season opener in front of our sponsors' home crowd."
The team returned to their Gasoline Alley race shop today and will complete final preparations for Monterrey during the next week.