CHAMPCAR/CART: More Pre-season Test Notes

(March 12, 1999) - Mauricio Gugelmin (Hollywood PacWest Mercedes) was encouraged by the results of his three-day test at Homestead, which concluded Saturday. He recorded an unofficial lap of 25.07 seconds, an average of more than 215.5 miles per...

(March 12, 1999) - Mauricio Gugelmin (Hollywood PacWest Mercedes) was encouraged by the results of his three-day test at Homestead, which concluded Saturday. He recorded an unofficial lap of 25.07 seconds, an average of more than 215.5 miles per hour. "We've finally broken into the exclusive group of about a half-dozen cars that can run comfortably here," Gugelmin said. "We ran a 50-lap stint and the car was consistent and quick throughout the run. We still have some minor adjustments to make, but overall I'm pretty happy and pretty confident."

Gugelmin's teammate, Mark Blundell (Motorola PacWest Mercedes), completed seven days of testing by topping his previous best time on the Homestead oval with an unofficial lap at over 215.3 miles per hour. "The team did a great job all around," he said. "We ran really strong in the heat of the day. We also made good progress on our aero[dynamic] development. I'm pleased with the gains we've made and looking forward to the [March 21 Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami Presented by Toyota] in two weeks."

Team KOOL Green drivers Paul Tracy (KOOL Honda Reynard) and Dario Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard) completed their pre-season testing program by logging more than 850 trouble-free miles at Homestead last Wednesday through Friday. Tracy's best lap of 25.0 seconds was achieved despite the fact that he spent much of the test focusing on set-up work for Round 2 of the FedEx Championship Series, the April 10 Firestone Firehawk 500 at Twin Ring Motegi, Japan. Tracy has been excluded from the season opener at Homestead by CART Chief Steward Wally Dallenbach as a result of an incident with Michael Andretti at Australia last year.

"It was a really great test - speed-wise, car-wise and balance-wise," Tracy said. "It all came together. It was probably the best test I've had with Team KOOL Green. The car is good; we've got something we can really work with now." Franchitti's best lap of the three days was clocked at over 214 miles per hour. "We made some fairly big changes and we found some things that worked - and some that didn't," said Franchitti, who finished third in last year's FedEx Championship Series championship. "We definitely arrived at a better balance and managed to do some fast, long runs, so I think we'll be in good shape for the race here."

All American Racers driver Alex Barron showed gradual improvement in the Toyota Eagle over all three days of the Homestead test, wrapping up with a best lap of over 212.4 miles per hour last Friday. It marked the first oval test of the year for the team's two-week old Eagle chassis. "I'm really pleased with the progress the team has made," Barron said. "We're gaining every time we're out on the track. My race engineer [Gerald Tyler] and I have really come into tune with the [Eagle] 997. The engine is more powerful and Goodyear has gained in time with the '99 tires. Things are finally looking up for the race season."

Said team owner Dan Gurney, "Our heavy-fuel-load test run during the heat of the day indicates we are much closer to the top runners than in the past, and today, we were one of the fastest Toyota-powered cars. We've figured out how to do it on a Friday, so now we need to transfer this performance and repeat it in the [Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami Presented by Toyota] race on Sunday, March 21."

Source: CART Online

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Wally Dallenbach Sr. , Michael Andretti , Paul Tracy , Mauricio Gugelmin , Mark Blundell , Alex Barron , Dan Gurney