CHAMPCAR/CART: PacWest drivers amoung fasterst at Phoenix

Phoenix, AZ -- PacWest Racing teammates Mark Blundell and Mauricio Gugelmin were among the pacesetters at a multi-team test at Phoenix International Raceway today, consistently lapping in the 19.7-second range to record their best-ever times at...

Phoenix, AZ -- PacWest Racing teammates Mark Blundell and Mauricio Gugelmin were among the pacesetters at a multi-team test at Phoenix International Raceway today, consistently lapping in the 19.7-second range to record their best-ever times at the 1-mile Arizona oval.

The Mercedes-powered duo recorded 270 incident-free miles during the session for a combined total of over 1600 pre-season testing miles.

"Everything went pretty well and we had a solid, very constructive test," commented Blundell, back for his fourth season behind the wheel of the #18 Motorola PacWest Mercedes-Benz.

"We got in a long run and were able to share a lot of information between the two cars.

"We were faster than we were yesterday, and even in the heat of the day I still managed a 19.9-second lap, which was pretty encouraging."

Teammate Gugelmin -- completing his first test in the recently unveiled #17 Nextel PacWest machine -- had an equally productive day.

"The car was good right out of the box," noted Gugelmin, one of the most respected drivers on the CART circuit and the newly-appointed Chairman of the Championship Drivers Association (CDA).

"It's obvious that the guys on the team have really done their homework, and I'm very impressed.

"We were able to try a lot of things and learn more about the 2000 package.

"Everything is coming together very well and the combination of our new engineers, our new Mercedes-Benz IC108F, the Reynard 2KI, and our development programs is producing some very exciting results.

"Overall, I think today was probably the best test we've had so far this season."

Gugelmin and his Nextel PacWest crew will conduct their final pre-season road course test on March 2-3 at the Firebird East circuit outside Phoenix.

The opening round of the FedEx Championship Series will be held at the Homestead Miami Speedway on March 24-26.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Mauricio Gugelmin , Mark Blundell