CHAMPCAR/CART: Patrick Racing Sebring test report

Visteon/Patrick Racing tests 2002 Toyota/Reynard for first time JACKSON, Mich.--Visteon/Patrick Racing put its new 2002 Toyota/Reynard through the paces for the first time during two-days of testing January 21-22 in Sebring, Florida. Townsend...

Visteon/Patrick Racing tests 2002 Toyota/Reynard for first time

JACKSON, Mich.--Visteon/Patrick Racing put its new 2002 Toyota/Reynard through the paces for the first time during two-days of testing January 21-22 in Sebring, Florida.

Townsend Bell, who will pilot the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing entry during the 2002 FedEx Championship Series campaign, ran approximately 300 miles over the two days. The talented and aggressive native of California turned a quick lap of 51.58 seconds on the 1.6-mile Sebring road circuit. The time, unofficially, put him second fastest among the drivers testing. This was Visteon/Patrick Racing's second preseason test and second at Sebring. They previously ran there November 27-28 with last year's car.

"The Visteon/Patrick Racing team had a very productive two days of testing at Sebring," Bell said. "We had a couple of minor teething problems, which is to be expected from new a car, but all in all it was a very positive test. The reliability of the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard was outstanding. The Toyota engine continues to be very impressive from both a reliability and power standpoint. The new Reynard chassis is an evolution of what we had last year and all indications are that the updates and improvements are headed in the right direction. The major difference I notice between last year's car and this year's is the shifting on the new car has a more positive feel. Overall, it was a good two days. I learned a lot and I am looking forward to the next test," Bell concluded.

Bell, a rookie, is the 2001 Dayton Indy Lights Champion. He tested twice and ran two races with Visteon/Patrick Racing last year, but is entering his first full CART season in 2002. Commenting on testing with Visteon/Patrick Racing he said, "This is a very experienced and professional team so I am just trying to learn as much as I can as quickly as possible. Testing gives me the opportunity to establish a solid working relationship with the engineers and crew. As far as the car is concerned, the more miles I get the more I learn about champ cars and what is necessary to get the setup to work for me."

Patrick Racing General Manager Jim McGee was also pleased with the results of the test saying, "We have gained over a second in lap speed from when we were at Sebring six weeks ago. That is a considerable improvement especially at this track. Technical Director Ed Nathman and the Visteon/Patrick Racing engineering group have done an excellent job of selecting the configuration for the Reyanrd chassis and were are, as usual, very pleased with the reliability and power of the Toyota engine."

McGee went on to say, "The Visteon/Patrick Racing team has come together very quickly. Townsend fit in right away and the level of communication between he and the team is already very good. We have five more tests in the next six weeks. That will give us the opportunity to get plenty of miles under Townsend's belt. We should be ready to challenge for wins right from the start of the season," McGee concluded.

Next up for Visteon/Patrick Racing is another two-day test, January 30-31 on the road course at Homestead, Florida.

-pr-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Townsend Bell