JACKSON, MI - - JANUARY 12, 2001 - - Patrick Racing came away from their three-day road course test at Sebring, January 9-11, pleased with the gains they had made in preparation for the 2001 FedEx Championship Series season. Jimmy Vasser ran...
JACKSON, MI - - JANUARY 12, 2001 - - Patrick Racing came away from their three-day road course test at Sebring, January 9-11, pleased with the gains they had made in preparation for the 2001 FedEx Championship Series season.
Jimmy Vasser ran 185 miles during the first day of the test and posted the fastest time of the day with a quick lap of 51.2. Visteon/Patrick Racing driver Roberto Moreno took over for the next two days with equally successful results. Moreno ran over 300 miles during the two days with a quick lap of 51.0. The fast time was tied for the quickest on the final day. Moreno's run was even more impressive when you take into account that the team was working extensively on developing the set-up and performance of the Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard.
"I think with the limited testing and lack of in-season testing under the new rules, this was a critical test," said Patrick Racing General Manager Jim McGee. "We have made significant improvement with the new Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard since our first test at Sebring. The car has shown good reliability and both drivers are happy with the performance. The fact that Jimmy was the fastest on the first day at Sebring and Roberto was tied for first on the last day shows that we have a very competitive package," McGee said.
McGee also noted that the progress the team has made to date has resulted in an additional benefit. "With the positive results we have achieved so far we have time to work on some things at the shop. Also, I think we are the only team that has taken delivery of three cars and the fact that we can go forward preparing the race packages for the cars is a real advantage," McGee said.
Moreno, who in his fist season with Patrick Racing had the most successful season of his seven-year CART career, a third place showing in the 2000 FedEx Championship Series standings, was equally happy with the results of the test.
"It was a fantastic test," Moreno said. "It was fantastic to be back in the Visteon/Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard after the long holiday and the results of the test were fantastic. We continued the development of the car and worked on a lot of different things, suspension, brakes, different set-ups and engine mappings. We made a lot of improvements and learned a lot. We also ran a lot of miles. Jimmy and I put ran a full race's worth of miles on one engine the first two days, then I switch to a new engine for the final day. With all the work that we did the most impressive thing was that we were fast," Moreno noted.
McGee also sighted the performance of the Toyota engine as a major factor in the success of the team's pre-season testing program. "This is a brand new Toyota engine. It has proven to be both fast and reliable. It seems to be a `happy motor'. By that I mean, when we look at the clutches, gearbox and different parts of the car, there is no extra wear. That means the engine is running comfortably," McGee said.
Next up for Patrick Racing is the CART Sneak Preview at California Speedway in Fontana, California on January 16-18.