Camp Pendleton, California, January 7, 2002 - The new year began in spectacular fashion for Patrick Carpentier as the Team Player's driver was granted the privilege of taking part in a training mission aboard a U.S. attack helicopter during his ...
Camp Pendleton, California, January 7, 2002 - The new year began in spectacular fashion for Patrick Carpentier as the Team Player's driver was granted the privilege of taking part in a training mission aboard a U.S. attack helicopter during his recent visit to Camp Pendleton in suburban San Diego.
Authorities at the Camp Pendleton Marine base the busiest in the United States, with a contingent of 40,000 soldiers had invited Carpentier as a guest speaker in conjunction with an annual information program on road safety.
"My speech dealt with the importance of knowing both your own limits and those of your car, and I hope that I was able to get their attention by stressing the fact that one should never mistake the road for a race track," explained Carpentier, who addressed about 1,500 soldiers. "During my visit, I was amazed to see the many similarities between a racing team and a military squadron, especially in the areas of teamwork, the important role of the mechanics and the precision of the setups on the aircraft."
Carpentier, who rode aboard a Canadian Armed Forces CF-18 in June, 2000, said he was extremely impressed by the agility of the Cobra AH-1W helicopter and the dexterity of Captain Aaron Marx of the "Stingers" squadron during the 90-minute training flight he was granted last Friday.
"You feel less G-force but the speed effect is greater, and although nothing can match the acceleration of a Champ Car, I held my breath a few times, especially when the pilot went into attack mode to hit his target," remarked Carpentier, who was able to get a bird's-eye view of the expanse of the base, which extends over 100 square miles.
The Canadian driver, who also had the opportunity to test out a flight simulator, spoke at length with a number of MAG-39 (Marine Aircraft Group) members, and it wouldn't be surprising to see a significant delegation of Marines in the Team Player's pit stand for a CART race in the 2002 season.
"I really appreciated the Marines' hospitality, and with three races in California this season, I hope to see some of them again to give them a behind-the-scenes look at the CART series," said Carpentier, who will conduct his next off-season testing sessions on January 22-23 at Sebring.