CHAMPCAR/CART: PacWest has positive first day at Laguna seca test

(Laguna Seca, Ca) -- PacWest Racing's Mauricio Gugelmin was one of the fastest and rookie Scott Dixon produced some solid running in the first half of the two-day CART Open Test at Laguna Seca Raceway in California today. Gugelmin, driver of the...

(Laguna Seca, Ca) -- PacWest Racing's Mauricio Gugelmin was one of the fastest and rookie Scott Dixon produced some solid running in the first half of the two-day CART Open Test at Laguna Seca Raceway in California today.

Gugelmin, driver of the #17 Nextel PacWest Mercedes-Benz, finished fourth-fastest with a lap time of 1:09.315 at an average speed of 116.235mph around the challenging 2.238-mile venue -- his place will be taken by teammate Mark Blundell tomorrow.

Dixon, the current leader of the Dayton Indy Lights Championship in his Invensys/Powerware sponsored car, made the most of his first day of Champ Car open testing after completing his rookie evaluation under the watchful eye of Memo Gidley at Putnam Park near Indianapolis two weeks ago.

The 20-year New Zealander, did a total of 67 laps during the day and set the 17th-quickest time of the 23 cars at the test with a time of 1:10.422 at an average speed of 114.407mph. Dixon showed the maturity of a driver many years his senior as he worked with the team on engine and set-up programs.

MAURICIO GUGELMIN - # 17 NEXTEL PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ -- 4th

"The car was handling pretty good and really has been for the last couple of races or so," said Gugelmin, who completed 59 laps in a day which was delayed a couple of hours due to fog.

"We learned some stuff mechanically and today has certainly provided us with a little confidence boost with this race happening in two weeks time. Scott (Dixon) did a good job and kept his car on the black stuff when a couple of regular drivers could not."

SCOTT DIXON - PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ -- 17th

"Basically it was a pretty good day as I tried to get myself fitted into the car," said Dixon.

"I had a goal of doing as many constructive laps as possible and getting up to a reasonable speed without falling off and we managed to achieve that.

"My quickest time was OK, but I messed up my new tire run to some degree.

"I will have three new sets of tires to run tomorrow so we will see how we go.

"It will be nice to sleep on today's sessions and come out here again tomorrow.

"Obviously the car is a lot different to the Lights car and I really enjoyed driving it.

"It was the first time I had run on a track with so much Champ Car traffic, but it wasn't a problem because everyone was trying to stay out of everyone else's way."

"I think we can certainly pick up some time tomorrow, but I won't be doing anything stupid."

TESTING TIMES: 1: Patrick Carpentier 1:09.133; 2: Gil De Ferran 1:09.162; 3: Helio Castroneves 1:09.293; 4: Mauricio Gugelmin 1:09.315; 5: Christian Fittipaldi 1:09.395; 6: Jimmy Vasser 1:09.555; 7: Kenny Brack 1:09.592; 8: Cristiano da Matta 1:09.600; 9: Oriol Servia 1:09.695; 10: Juan Montoya 1:09.749.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Jimmy Vasser , Memo Gidley , Patrick Carpentier , Christian Fittipaldi , Scott Dixon , Mauricio Gugelmin , Oriol Servia , Kenny Brack