CHAMPCAR/CART: Motegi winner Bruno Junqueira press conference, Part II

CART Media Teleconference Presented by Worldcom April, 30, 2002 An Interview with Bruno Junqueira Part 2 of 2 - Ovals, Team Target and a lap of Indy Q: Merrill, if I may make a comment to you about one thing you guys are doing on race ...

CART Media Teleconference Presented by Worldcom
April, 30, 2002

An Interview with Bruno Junqueira

Part 2 of 2 - Ovals, Team Target and a lap of Indy

Q: Merrill, if I may make a comment to you about one thing you guys are doing on race weekends, including the transcripts of the Top 3, thank you. We appreciate that.

Merrill Cain: We appreciate your comment.

Q: Great win. We get a lot of viewer mail, and some of the viewers have been curious about the transition, from the Champ Cars to the IRL cars and then back, how do you then adapt to that, so we can explain to our viewers? And can you talk about the transition from going from Indianapolis, the 500-mile race, the IRL cars and then a week later getting into the Champ Cars for Milwaukee?

Bruno Junqueira: Yeah, that's quite a big difference. I think first thing, at the end of the day, you still have to drive a car with four wheels, and a crazy man is driving the car, you know.

But it's easier because it's going to be all oval. I just had that oval race, and then I'm going to race Indy and then Milwaukee. As I said, you can put your mind in an oval mode. But for sure, it's different because Indianapolis is a 2 1/2 mile oval superspeedway and you go really fast.

Milwaukee, the one-mile oval, really tight and it's different. And with Champ Cars, it has more power and you have to brake, down shift and put the power down.

Like Indianapolis is different, you have to just keep the momentum and the speed. It's a little bit different style to drive.

But I think you have to be able to do that. I think that's the key of drivers and a very good thing of CART that we have to learn how to step up each race weekend, a different track or one oval course, road course, street course, the superspeedway; and hence, we just have to pay attention because the cars are different, but that's something that you have to do and you learn how to do it.

Q: I'm interested in the comment that you made, "I'm in the oval mode." Talk about the difference of being in an oval mode and being in a road course mode?

Bruno Junqueira:  Oval mode you just turn left and road courses you turn
right and left.  (Laughs.)

I think especially on ovals, you have to be really patient for these races. You have to be a little bit less aggressive until the last pit stop. And I think on ovals you have to be really patient because if you don't have a good car, you can put yourself on the wall very easy. You have to be patient, stop, make the right adjustment, make a good setup to be fast, you know.

On road courses, a little bit different. Sometimes you try to overdrive the car and push hard. If no one got that edge in oval, sometimes you can't do it, because if you try to do it, you're going to be on the wall.

Q:  And you mentioned the fact that you're going to also going to  -- during
the month of May  -- test at Mid-Ohio as well, and also test at Milwaukee?

Bruno Junqueira: Yes, we're going to test at Milwaukee, for sure. And I don't know if we're going to test in Portland or Mid-Ohio. We're going to test on road courses, as well.

Q: That's really unusual because usually when people go to Indy, they just usually stay there for the month of May and just try to work on Indy, and they try to get into that concentration. Have you thought about that?

Bruno Junqueira: Yeah. But, I don't know, I think you need to carry on with our CART program, and you can do both things at the same time. It's not going to be like on the race weekend, you know, or race week. It's going to be a little bit before that, and we're still going to have time to come back to Indy and to prepare for the race. Then it's fine.

Q: You mentioned a moment ago about driving an oval, and the first thing you said, you have to have a crazy driver behind the wheel. Do you have to almost be a little crazy to drive ovals?

Bruno Junqueira: When I say "crazy," it's just like more kidding. But, that's okay. I think once you get to used to it, then it's not that much crazy.

Merrill Cain: I had a quick question for you, too. I know that you're working with a new engineer this year, Bill Pappas. Obviously you've had a lot of success with him this past weekend. How has that relationship gone? Can you tell us a little about the chemistry within the team now, now that things have changed a little bit with Bill there?

Bruno Junqueira: It's been very good. Bill is a very good engineer. Last year I worked with Julian Robertson. I had a good relationship with him as well. I think Team Target has a good engineering staff, and I'm just doing very well with Bill. He already won the Indianapolis 500 twice. With Emerson, he lost the second -- (inaudible) -- and 2000 winner who has won Montoya. And then he's really interested to win Indy and I want to have the flavor and drink the milk for the first time .

Merrill Cain: Have you thought about what that would mean to you? Obviously, Team Target has had some success there and you've got a great ride and great chance going into Indianapolis. You talked about you living in that town, what would winning that race, that ultimate feeling be for you?

Bruno Junqueira: I don't know. First of all, I'm just working hard to win that race, then I will have the feeling.

Merrill Cain: Take it one step at a time. I understand.

Bruno Junqueira: Yes.

Merrill Cain: One other question I wanted to ask you, Team Target does something pretty special with the Target House where they donate some money every time the team is successful. Team Target donates $5,000 for a win and $1,000 for a pole, $25 for each lap led. After this weekend's action, with your success there, almost $7,500 was donated to Target House and St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis.

Talk about that and it means to you as a driver to be able to contribute to a cause like that when you are successful on the track.

Bruno Junqueira: That was awesome. Because I've been St. Jude's Hospital and Target House and that's a pretty neat thing they do in Memphis. People have no idea how important that is. Not just of the children that are there, but the whole world because they are there taking care of children that need it, and children that can give the doctors the opportunity to learn and to prove how the cancer treatments, and that's not going to help just those kids. That's going to help all over the world, anybody that has cancer. That's a very, very important thing, research. I'm really happy and proud to have the opportunity to help them.

Q: Usually we ask you to take a lap around the road course with us. Can you take us on a lap around Indianapolis, how you approach a lap around that place?

Bruno Junqueira: There are two ways to approach it. One when your car is good and going to qualify, then I have to be flat-out all the way around and that's not easy to do to be flat-out around the corner.

Now, telling you about the lap: You go it Turn 1, that's the most difficult corner in Indianapolis. It's a 90-degree corner with banking. And Turn 1 has a bump in the middle of the turn that makes it even more difficult. When the car is really good, you can do it flat-out, but when the car is not good, you have to lift a little bit. And that depends a lot on the wind, you need to see the direction of the wind because sometimes the wind blows over the main straight and then Turn 1 gets really difficult and Turn 3 gets easier. When the wind is blowing the other direction, Turn 1 gets easier and Turn 3 gets difficult.

Then you just came out exit of 1, you have one brief, one really short straight and then you go down again to Turn 2. As I said, when everything is fine, you can take it flat, but really important of Turn 2 to have a good exit because that goes to the back straight; that's a very, very long straight.

Then you get on the back straight and you're going to approach to Turn 3 that, in normal conditions is a little bit easier than Turn 1. If there is no wind, you can take Turn 3 flat easier than Turn 1.

Then you can go to turn 4. That's after 2, really important to have a good exit for the main straight.

Pretty much, that's the track. You're going to run Indianapolis, you'll have six gears on the car. You're going to run fourth, fifth, or sixth, and it depends which speed you wants to run on the race. On the race you use fourth, fifth and sixth, these three gears, depending which speed and how much slipstream you are going to get from the car in front.

And like on the qualify lap, we try to be flat-out; on the race, we want to lift a little bit on each corner. And that's a lap at Indianapolis.

Q: You're going to Indianapolis and they are installing soft walls, first oval track to have that. As a driver, how does that make you feel, and would you like to see those soft walls installed on all of the oval tracks, including the ones that CART runs on?

Bruno Junqueira: Really, I still don't want to test them. (Laughs). That's the way that makes me feel.

I think that's a good thing to have. If it's safe -- I don't know exactly how it will work, luckily. I just crashed once on the oval -- (inaudible) -- testing last year, and I really don't want to see if this soft walls are better or not. I just want to stay far away from them.

Q: Does it give you any comfort at all?

Bruno Junqueira:  I don't think so.  I think they still have to go.  When
you hit it, you hit it hard.  I hope that the soft walls can be a little bit
better.  I don't know how much better, really.  I don't know exactly how
those things works to tell you.  I want to stay out of those.

Merrill Cain: Bruno, we want to say thank you very much for joining us in the CART media teleconference this afternoon. We wish you the best of luck competing in Indianapolis this month. We'll certainly be keeping a close eye on your efforts there, and we'll look forward to seeing you at Round 4 of the CART FedEx Championship Series, the Miller Lite 250 at Milwaukee Mile at May 31 through June 2.

Thank you very much for joining us today.

Bruno Junqueira: Thank you very much.


Bruno on Motegi and Indy 500 Part I

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira