The new Mercedes-Benz IC108F V8 engine propelled two Champ Cars into the top 10 at practice for Sunday's Miller Lite 225, round six of the CART FedEx Championship Series. Nazareth winner Gil de Ferran set the pace with the quickest lap of the day...
The new Mercedes-Benz IC108F V8 engine propelled two Champ Cars into the top 10 at practice for Sunday's Miller Lite 225, round six of the CART FedEx Championship Series. Nazareth winner Gil de Ferran set the pace with the quickest lap of the day in 21.389 seconds (173.697 mph) over the historic Milwaukee Mile oval. Nextel Mercedes pilot Mauricio Gugelmin, who finished second last weekend at Nazareth, Pa., maintained the PacWest Racing team's momentum with a fourth-quick hot lap of 21.468 seconds (173.058 mph) to lead the four-team Mercedes contingent.
"I've never been so far ahead of the game as I was today," said "Big Mo" Gugelmin. "We ran 60 laps continuously, and we got a lot of good data for the race. The car is still pushing in the mid-corner a bit more than I'd like for qualifying. But what I'm excited about is that I've got a good race car that I can be aggressive with, and it will stay with me all afternoon on Sunday. Mercedes-Benz has made tremendous progress in the last couple of weeks. The car is very driveable and is making tremendous fuel mileage."
Tony Kanaan, driving the Mo Nunn Racing/Hollywood Mercedes, worked on developing a good set up in both the morning and afternoon sessions. The Brazilian put together a hot lap of 21.660 seconds (171.524 mph) on fresh tires about halfway through the afternoon session which put him on top of the time sheets momentarily, and he ended the session seventh fastest. Overall, Kanaan was 10th on the day.
"We have a very consistent car, if not the fastest car right now," said Kanaan. "We pulled the car off the truck this morning and ran a 21.7 (-second lap) right off the bat. The trick will be to find that final little bit that will put us at the top in qualifying. We didn't test here and everyone else did, so we have to be pleased that we're in the ballpark. I'm very happy with the progress we've been making with the Mercedes engine. Every race they come up with something that seems to make a difference. We're on our way."
PacWest Motorola Mercedes driver Mark Blundell posted a quick lap of 21.732 seconds (170.955 mph), placing him 14th for the day. Michel Jourdain Jr. lapped the oval in 21.943 seconds (169.311 mph) in his Bettenhausen Motorsports/Herdez Mercedes, while Luiz Garcia Jr. turned a lap of 23.193 seconds (160.186 mph) for Arciero Project Racing Group/Hollywood Mercedes.
<pre> Practice, Miller Lite 225 West Allis, Wis. June 2, 2000
Pos. Driver Engine Time Speed 1 Gil de Ferran Honda 21.389 173.697 2 Michael Andretti Ford Cosworth 21.404 173.575 3 Helio Castroneves Honda 21.449 173.211 4 Mauricio Gugelmin Mercedes-Benz 21.468 173.058 5 Paul Tracy Honda 21.588 172.096 6 Adrian Fernandez Ford Cosworth 21.588 172.096 7 Juan Montoya Toyota 21.602 171.984 8 Dario Franchitti Honda 21.637 171.706 9 Patrick Carpentier Ford Cosworth 21.650 171.603 10 Tony Kanaan Mercedes-Benz 21.660 171.524 14 Mark Blundell Mercedes-Benz 21.732 170.955 17 Michel Jourdain Jr. Mercedes-Benz 21.943 169.311 24 Luiz Garcia Jr. Mercedes-Benz 23.193 160.186