Race: Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix of Orange Date/Session: Thursday Evening, April 16, 1999 Race Results Penske Rookie Marques Wins Inaugural Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix of Orange County- Conquers Innovative Simulators at Pre-Long...
Race: Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix of Orange Date/Session: Thursday Evening, April 16, 1999 Race Results
Penske Rookie Marques Wins Inaugural Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix of Orange County- Conquers Innovative Simulators at Pre-Long Beach Event
"Gentlemen, to your cars." That was the call last night at the Penske Racing Center in Orange, Calif., where, in the final heat of Champ Car competition, Marlboro Team Penske rookie Tarso Marques defeated nine rival drivers over a 49-mile race on a super-realistic simulation of the California Speedway 2-mile oval. The full-car simulators, utilizing the latest graphical technology and full motion effects, offer a realistic open wheel racing experience. Marques, starting from 13th position, defeated a trio of members from the Penske Racing Center team, as well as PacWest pilot Mauricio Gugelmin and assorted media VIPs. Marques' Mercedes-powered Champ Car finished with an average lap time of 31.66 seconds (227.60 mph).
Christian Peralta posted the fastest lap time of 29.98 seconds (240.19 mph).
"Tonight was really fun," said PacWest team owner Bruce McCaw. "This Center is very well organized, everything is first class. Anyone who tries these simulators will get an appreciation for what our sport is all about."
The Mercedes-Benz-sponsored event marked a pre-opening celebration for the facility, which opens to the public on Saturday, April 17. Located on Katella Avenue in Orange (near the junction of the 405, 5 and 57 freeways), the Penske Racing Center is operated by Pure Technologies II, a partnership with J. Williams Cars, Inc., Penske Corporation and Pure Technologies.
Between heats, the crowd of 50 competitors sampled Dungeness crab cakes, barbecue pizza and a cold seafood buffet, accompanied by fine California wines and imported ale.
The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the third round of the CART FedEx Championship Series, gets underway with practice sessions today, followed by qualifying tomorrow. The Grand Prix will be broadcast live on ABC-TV at 4:00 p.m. ET Sunday, April 18.
Tarso Marques, No. 4, Marlboro Team Penske Mercedes (First) "This was really good fun. My set up was good, and I was able to make some good passes on the corners. I think my experience with traffic at Motegi really helped me in this race. The Mercedes engine was great and allowed me to stay out on the track and win."
Mauricio Gugelmin, No. 16, PacWest Hollywood Mercedes (Fifth) "My car was pushing all the time. I tried to concentrate on being smooth; I actually started sweating. This is the first time I've ever crashed three times on an oval in 15 minutes, and was able to walk away! I'm satisfied with my performance."
Results, Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix of Orange Orange, California April 15, 1999 Pos. Driver Team Laps 1 Tarso Marques Marlboro Team Penske 24 2 Bryce Williams Penske Racing Center 24 3 Russ Foushee Penske Racing Center 24 4 Christian Peralta Penske Racing Center 23 5 Mauricio Gugelmin PacWest Racing 21 6 Jade Gurss Ilmor Engineering 21 7 Scott Smith ESPN/RPM 2-Night 21 8 Martin Henderson Los Angeles Times 19 9 Paul Van Valkenberg Author/Engineer 19 10 Patrick Paternie Freelance Writer 16
Contact: Susan Schroeder, Mercedes-Benz Sports Information, 562-432-0630 (track) or 201-519-1406 (cell); or David Dandurand, Penske Racing Center at 714-538-1150.