An interview with Michel Jourdain, Jr Part 2 of 2 Q: Going into Denver, this is obviously a big event for Team Rahal with the Shell sponsorship in there. You are probably going to be maxed out for time. And we got a brand new street course...
An interview with Michel Jourdain, Jr Part 2 of 2
Q: Going into Denver, this is obviously a big event for Team Rahal with the Shell sponsorship in there. You are probably going to be maxed out for time. And we got a brand new street course there which looks exceptionally interesting. Give us your impressions of the track. Have you had a chance to actually see the track, portions of it?
Michel Jourdain, Jr: I went there for the presentation just before Mid-Ohio, if I remember well. So they were starting to build the track. It looks pretty good. I think it just looks a little different from the other street courses. They are doing a great job. I think Denver is a great city. Shell is the presenting sponsor -- the main sponsors of the race, so it's going to be big. And Denver, I was surprised how many Mexicans are there, it is huge. So we're going to have a lot of support there and every race is very important. But the end of the season keeps getting closer and closer, so every one is more and more important. We have done very good in street courses this year. I think it is our biggest strength and hopefully it will be if we keep going.
Q: You have been able to amass more points, 88, I think now for this season which is considerably more than you amassed in your entire CART career up to this point. I think you are sixth in the Championship. This has got to feel really good for you?
Michel Jourdain, Jr: Yeah, it feels very good. Like for you it is you always want more. A couple of races we should have gotten more points, we should be doing better, but everybody feels the same. I think the way I look at it, every race I have to do the best possible. Sometimes the best possible has been ninth, you have to get ninth. Sometimes, I mean, you have everything to be on the podium; that day you have to be on the podium. Hopefully we'll be in that situation again soon; not like we were in the beginning of the season. I feel very good with all the street courses coming, I think that's our biggest strength, obviously. Mexico City, the biggest race of the year for CART, and especially for me. I am really looking forward to these races.
Merrill Cain: Following up on Montreal, it was a great weekend for CART. A lot of comparisons were made between CART and F-I during the course of the weekend. Although the two cars are certainly separate entities, talk about what the experience was like from a driver's perspective. Every driver seemed to comment about the fans and just being able to hear the fans; the fact they were so into it; so enamored with the fact that they could get close and talk to you guys and interact with the cars and see them up close and personal. What was it like from your perspective?
Michel Jourdain, Jr: It was great. You could see how the fans were getting better and better as the weekend was going. Like on Friday they used to Formula 1, they couldn't get close to nothing. But by the end of the weekend they were like so much -- I mean, all the time they were so happy to be able to see us and talk to us and the crews and the cars. You could touch the cars, you know, something they are not used to. Like you said, there were a lot of comparisons. I think the cars, it is very good, looking at the times we did compared to Formula 1 before they started. So I am sure if we had another tire and we could be doing the same tires, but it doesn't matter, even if we were 22 seconds slower, or 10 faster, it doesn't matter. I think we are CART and Formula 1 is Formula 1. It is just different. The cars, I think, put on a good show. The fans loved it and the fans were the best.
Reminded me a lot of Monterey, you know, like when Patrick (Carpentier) and Alex (Tagliani) went by the grandstands all the people went for them like when Monterey with Adrian (Fernandez), Mario (Dominguez) and myself, and people knew a lot about racing and about all of us and being the first race there, it was amazing how much they knew already. So I think it is going to here for next 10, 20 years because it is just great.
Merrill Cain: You mentioned Monterey, and obviously you are very in tune with what is going on in Mexico City for CART's season finale coming up there in just a matter of weeks really. What can the fans expect? What can the drivers expect when they get to Mexico City? Has the excitement for Monterrey really built it to the point where you had to have this race there in Mexico City, the Mexican fans demanded another race in Mexico and what is it going to be like when you arrive down there.
Michel Jourdain, Jr: I think we should have had a race in Mexico five or six years ago, you know, and I think it would have been very, very good for CART but for whatever reason this is the first year, you know, and things happen and maybe it was the best to wait some years because you see the people are doing an unbelievable job on the track. I mean, the track was pretty good when Formula 1 came, but it is going to be ten times better than that time.
They are doing a great, great job. I am very impressed, and it's going to be -- I mean, if Monterrey was unbelievable, this is going to be even bigger because everybody from all over the country of Mexico to go to Monterrey was harder, and to come to Mexico, it is a lot cheaper. Everybody has a relative in Mexico where they can stay. So everybody from the country is going to come. They have been doing promotions for Gigante all over the place. I was there a couple of weeks ago and everybody was telling me that they are coming. Everybody in the streets in Mexico, they know and they tell me that they are coming. I think it is going to be, I mean, much bigger than Montreal, or Long Beach, or Monterey. It's going to be, for sure, by far, the biggest.
Merrill Cain: Thank you for joining us today. We're looking forward to the race in Mexico City and looking forward to the race in Denver coming up this weekend. We wish you best of luck on the streets of Denver as you compete at the Shell Grand Prix of Denver coming up in just a few days. We hope the keep the streak going, too. Thanks Michel.
Michel Jourdain, Jr: Thank you and thanks for everybody coming in and see you this weekend.
Michel Jourdain Jr press conference, part I