PKV RACING COMPLETES SIXTH PRESEASON TEST Servia Makes First Appearance With Team INDIANAPOLIS, IN - - MARCH 26, 2006 - - PKV Racing completed its sixth test of the preseason running for two days, March...
PKV RACING COMPLETES SIXTH PRESEASON TEST
Servia Makes First Appearance With Team
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - - MARCH 26, 2006 - - PKV Racing completed its sixth test of the preseason running for two days, March 22-23, at Sebring Raceway in Sebring, Florida.
Champ Car rookie Katherine Legge was joined by recently signed Series veteran Oriol Servia on the 1.66-mile Sebring "short course" for both days of testing although Servia ran just a half day on the 23rd.
Legge, who signed with PKV Racing on February 14 to drive the #20 Gulfstream/Bell Micro -- PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone entry in 2006, was testing a Champ Car for the sixth time and fifth with PKV Racing. The talented and determined 25-year-old Brit ran 410 miles over the two days completing 253 miles the first day and 157 the second. Legge has spent most of her off-season testing time getting familiar with the increased horsepower of a Champ Car and working on a number of race-related issues, including race simulations and live pit stops, which she did not have to contend with during her one and only Atlantic Championship Series season last year.
"Things are really going well for us as we keep working toward getting ready for Long Beach," Legge said. "The team has been 100 percent behind me and I think that we have gotten to the point where we have good chemistry. Of course, I am very excited about working with Oriol and he has been very helpful. Jimmy (Vasser) has been great too and I think we'll be in good shape at Long Beach."
Seriva, who agreed to terms with the team to pilot the #6 Gulfstream/Bell Micro -- PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone car on March 9th, made his first appearance in a PKV Racing machine during the Sebring test. The personable 31-year-old native of Pals, Catalonia, Spain ran a total of 242 miles including 192 miles on the first day. However, with rain threatening and the track full of rubber from the 12-hour race, the team decided to cut his second day short at 50 miles.
Servia, who raced with many of the PKV Racing crew members as well as General Manager Jim McGee in 2002 and 2003 while at Patrick Racing said, "It's probably 70 percent of the guys that I worked with at Patrick that are here now and we have some unfinished business from those years that we're looking to take care of," Servia grinned. "Overall, it was a good test for us. We tried a lot of things but, the track has so much grip because of the 12-hour race this weekend that it is harder to judge the effect of the changes."
Commenting on the test McGee said, "This was our first real test of the off-season. Until now we have been conducting driver evaluations in an effort to settle on our driver line-up. With the driver situation resolved we were able to go about the business of developing the cars during this test.
Oriol jumped in the car the first day and right away we starting getting information. We tried a lot of things over the two days and all-in-all it was a very productive test. We are not where we want to be at this point in the off-season, but we are where we are. Fortunately, we have another couple of days of testing in Fontana and that will help as we prepare for the start of the season."
Legge, who had her first Champ Car test with Rocketsports Racing on December 13, 2005, is considered a rising star in open-wheel racing. She won three races last year during her inaugural Atlantic Championship season placing third overall. Legge became the first woman to win a major open-wheel race in North America when she captured her debut Atlantic event in Long Beach. The victory in Long Beach was named Southern California's top auto racing moment of the year in voting by fans. Legge's strong showing in the Atlantic's earned her a Formula One test for Minardi and an A1 Grand Prix test for Team Great Britain before testing with Rocketsports and eventually signing with PKV Racing.
Servia, who is entering his seventh Champ Car season, is coming off a career year in which he placed second in the championship standings. After starting the 2005 season with Dale Coyne Racing, he replaced Bruno Junqueira in the Newman/Haas Racing machine after Junqueira was injured in the Indianapolis 500. Servia made 11 starts for Newman/Haas, earning seven podiums including a win in Montreal, his first career Champ Car victory. The resident of Miami, Florida started on the front-row a career high four times including his first career pole (Australia). He is working on a streak of five consecutive podium finishes.
Next up for PKV Racing is the Champ Car Open Test at California Speedway in Fontana, CA on March 29-30. In addition to Legge and Servia, team co-owner Jimmy Vasser, who announced on March 14th that he would compete at the season opening Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and selected other races in 2006, will be behind the wheel of the #12 Gulfsteam/Bell Micro -- PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone car. This will be Vasser's first testing session since the conclusion of the 2005 season.