CONSISTENCY, NOT SPEED IS GOAL FOR MAX PAPIS IN HOMESTEAD TEST HOMESTEAD, Fla. (January 11, 1999) - Max Papis quickly got up to speed in his first test for Team Rahal at the Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex in December. Consistency was...
CONSISTENCY, NOT SPEED IS GOAL FOR MAX PAPIS IN HOMESTEAD TEST
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (January 11, 1999) - Max Papis quickly got up to speed in his first test for Team Rahal at the Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex in December. Consistency was the goal of colorful Italian when he returned to South Florida Monday to prepare for the March 21 Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami Presented by Toyota.
"Before Christmas, we ran a 25.4 (212.6 mph) here," Papis explained. "This time we are exploring our race setup. In Spring Training (Feb. 2-4 at Homestead), everyone is going to be trying to maximize their speed and go fast. Now that we have time, we can concentrate on the race setup."
Going fast was never a problem for Papis. The former Formula One regular earned the nickname "Mad Max" when he electrified American sports car racing with a late-race charge to second place in the 1996 Rolex 24 at Daytona, the closest finish in the history of the event. Papis went on to score three victories, four poles and eight track records in the Momo Ferrari 333SP, finishing second in the IMSA World SportsCar Championship that year.
After two years of driving the Arciero-Wells MCI Toyota in CART FedEx Championship Series competition, Papis replaced the recently-retired Bobby Rahal in the Miller Lite Reynard-Ford.
What is his biggest adjustment with the new team?
"Actually, learning the names of all the people is the most difficult part of it," Papis replied. "As with everything new, it takes time to get used to everyone. But everything is coming along well, and I am very pleased. The Ford has a lot of power, and definitely it's going to be a good season. We just need to work together."
While Papis is looking to get to know his new teammates better, he plans to work with another select group this season - the Championship Car front-runners.
"Up until now, I've never been able to run in the front with the top guys," he explained. "So we'll have to learn how they are and how it is racing at the front. But I'm ready for that."
If Papis can have a consistent run in the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami Presented by Toyota, there's an excellent chance the Homestead crowd may be treated to another electrifying charge to the finish by "Mad Max."
Homestead-Miami Speedway's 1999-season opening weekend March 19-21 also features the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in Saturday's Florida Dodge Dealers 400. Tickets for Friday are $10. Unreserved grandstand seats for Saturday's activities are $25. Reserved grandstand seats for the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami Presented by Toyota range from $55 to $85. Weekend paddock passes are an additional $30. Unreserved lower-row grandstand seats will be sold at the gate if available. To order tickets, call (305) 230-7223. For additional information visit www.racemiami.com.