CHAMPCAR/CART: PKV Racing Sebring test wrapup

PKV RACING COMPLETES THIRD PRESEASON TEST Legge Joined By Montagny As Team Continues To Evaluate Drivers INDIANAPOLIS, IN - - JANUARY 28, 2006 - - PKV Racing completed its third round of driver evaluations with a two-day test January 26-27 at...

Legge Joined By Montagny As Team Continues To Evaluate Drivers

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - - JANUARY 28, 2006 - - PKV Racing completed its third round of driver evaluations with a two-day test January 26-27 at Sebring Raceway in Sebring, Florida.

Rising open wheel star Katherine Legge was joined by Formula 1 test driver Franck Montagny on the 1.66-mile Sebring "short course, where the team put both drivers through their paces.

Legge, who was testing a Champ Car for the third time, and second with PKV Racing, ran over 450 miles including 260 on the second day when she did a full, 200-mile, race simulation. The talented and determined 25-year-old Brit, who earned three victories last year during her inaugural Atlantic season placing third overall, spend much of her testing time working on a number of race-related issues, including live pit stops.

"With Katherine, we worked on a lot of race-related exercises," said PKV Racing General Manager, Jim McGee. "Things like pit stops, simulated qualifying runs and a simulated 200 mile race were all part of her program. It was a learning exercise and Katherine did a good job," McGee noted.

Legge, who previously tested at Sebring with Rocketsports Racing on December 13 and PKV Racing having on December 20-21, said "It was an interesting two days of testing. I really have to thank PKV Racing and especially the crew. They were great to work with and I learned a lot. I've never had to do pit stops before and we did about 20 of them the first day. It's a little bit different. It was also very valuable to do the race simulation. I have been working out every day to build up my strength and stamina and the race simulation gave me a good feel for where I am in terms of conditioning. It's a learning process and I have to remember that every thing I do on days like this makes me a better driver."

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 win in Long Beach was named Southern California's top auto racing moment of the year in voting by fans. Her strong showing in the Atlantic's have also earned her a Formula One test for Minardi and an A1 Grand Prix test for Team Great Britain in November.

Montagny, who was Renault's Formula 1 test driver the last two seasons, made his debut in a Champ Car during the test and ran approximately 350 miles.

Commenting on the test, the 28-year-old Frenchmen, who competed against Champ Car stars Sebastien Bourdias and Justin Wilson in Europe said, "This is the first time I have driven a Champ Car and it was great. I got a good idea about the car and my times were on pace. The cars are not that different from F1 car, but, actually they are more fun to drive and maybe even more demanding physically. It was really great testing a Champ Car and I really want to thank the team and crew. They did a good job. I think it was a productive test and I had a lot of fun."

McGee said, "Franck was very impressive and very professional. He has a lot of experience and it showed. Franck ran competitive lap times and considering it was his first time in a Champ Car we are very pleased with his performance."

Summing up the test and the off-season program McGee said, "It was a good test. We accomplished everything we wanted during the two days. The drivers, mechanics and engineering staff did a great job. In fact, all of our preseason tests have been very productive. All the drivers we have brought in have been highly qualified and professional, the team has done a great job preparing the cars and we have accumulated a lot of date. Overall, we are very pleased with the results of our off-season program to date.

This was the third driver evaluation of the off-season for PKV Racing, which is seeking anywhere from zero to two drivers for 2006. In addition to Legge and Montagny, the team tested Ryan Briscoe, Ryan Dalziel and Giorgio Pantano at Sebring on December 12-14. More driver evaluations are expected in the coming weeks before the team makes a final decision on our driver line-up for the 2006 season.

The 2005 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season was the best in PKV Racing history. The team established a number of team records in its third year of operation. Among them: Vasser earned the team's highest season ending finish, placing sixth; da Matta scored the team's first victory winning in Portland (round #4), while Vasser earned the team's first pole in round #3 at Milwaukee. The two drivers also combined to set team records for best combined qualifying, first and fourth at Milwaukee and best combined finish, first and sixth at Portland. They both qualified in the top-five twice (Milwaukee and Las Vegas, Vasser -- third, da Matta -- fourth) and in the top-10 in a team record 11 races (in 13 attempts); including a team record six consecutive races. Da Matta and Vasser finished in the top-10 in the same race three times (eighth/10th at Long Beach; first/sixth, Portland and sixth/seventh, Montreal) and at least one of them placed in the top-six in nine of the 13 events including five consecutive races (the streak ended in Edmonton), which is also a team record.

Founded in January 2004, Indianapolis-based PKV Racing (PK Racing was established in 2003 with a different ownership group) will contest its third season of competition during the 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season. PKV Racing is owned by successful venture capitalists Kevin Kalkhoven, who also co-owns the Champ Car World Series, and Dan Pettit, along with 1996 Series Champion Jimmy Vasser. The team is managed by Jim McGee who became General Manager in January of 2005. McGee is the most successful Manager/Chief Mechanic in USAC/CART/Champ Car history having amassed 90 victories and nine national championships.


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Ryan Dalziel , Giorgio Pantano , Justin Wilson , Franck Montagny , Jimmy Vasser , Katherine Legge , Ryan Briscoe , Kevin Kalkhoven