Eli Lilly and company driver Fittipaldi returned to the cockpit after a third place finish in Mexico for test to prepare for Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and ends with unofficial fast lap time. SEBRING, Fla. (March 22, 2002) --- Hot off of a...
Eli Lilly and company driver Fittipaldi returned to the cockpit after a third place finish in Mexico for test to prepare for Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and ends with unofficial fast lap time.
SEBRING, Fla. (March 22, 2002) --- Hot off of a third place finish in the CART FedEx series season-opener in Mexico, Eli Lilly and Company driver Christian Fittipaldi continued Newman/Haas Racing's testing program and completed a two-day test at the 1.65-mile Sebring International Raceway today. Fittipaldi and team are preparing for the next round of the CART FedEx Championship at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 12-14 and hope to bring the team its fourth consecutive victory in the series
Fittipaldi ran 226 trouble-free miles on Thursday and approximately 170 on Friday while splitting time between his Toyota-Lola-Bridgestone race car and back-up car both days. His quickest lap time on Thursday of 51.1 was unofficially the second fastest of the day behind Michel Jourdain while his quickest lap time on Friday of 50.5 was unofficially the quickest of the day as well as the quickest of the two day test.
"The test went very well," said Fittipaldi. "We tested a huge list of things and learned a lot. The car is completely different from the last time I tested here. They have developed many things and the car is very good. The team brought both of my cars and when I was in one, they were changing the other car. The team worked very hard and we were able to see the results immediately. My quickest lap yesterday was on my third run on the tires so I know there was more in the car yesterday. Both days were very positive. It was time well spent. The plan is to show the results in Long Beach. It's an important race for Toyota as well as my new sponsor Eli Lilly, Chevron and CART as well. I'm due a good finish there. I was fastest in the race morning warm-up last year and the car was good but it didn't make it to the end. We plan to change that this year."
Fittipaldi had planned to be in a race car the past two days for a while but the type of car changed. Initially, he had planned to make his 2002 Busch Grand National series debut in Bristol, Tenn. this weekend but track availability forced the team to test on these two days.
"We moved heaven and earth to schedule the test so that Christian could race in Bristol this weekend but no tracks were available that suited the criteria we needed to test on and in the timeline we had available," said Brian Lisles, General Manager of Newman/Haas Racing. "This was an important test for us. In addition to working on car set-ups we are testing for our engine partner Toyota in preparation for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Christian has provided valuable data from previous tests in Sebring in the past and the new data we obtained the past two days will no doubt help us run for our fourth consecutive race win on April 14."
Cristiano da Matta, driver of the Havoline Toyota-Lola-Bridgestone, will take over testing duties on March 26-27 on the Miami-Homestead oval.
Newman/Haas Racing, owned by actor/race car driver Paul Newman and racing entrepreneur Carl A. Haas, competes in the CART FedEx Championship Series. The team will begin their 20th season in the series in 2002 as the most successful active competitor with 62 race wins and 63 pole positions. For more information log on to www.newman-haas.com, www.texaco.com/racing or www.cart.com. Round 2 of 20 in the CART FedEx Championship Series takes place on April 12-14 on the streets of Long Beach. The 20-race schedule will be broadcast by new television partners CBS, Fox and the Fox-owned Speed Channel.