PLAYER'S CART TEAM DRIVERS PATRICK CARPENTIER AND ALEX TAGLIANI CONDUCT FIRST OFF-SEASON TESTING ON OVALS Homestead, Florida, January 11, 2000 -Continuing the fine-tuning process in preparation for the upcoming season, Patrick Carpentier and ...
PLAYER'S CART TEAM DRIVERS PATRICK CARPENTIER AND ALEX TAGLIANI CONDUCT FIRST OFF-SEASON TESTING ON OVALS
Homestead, Florida, January 11, 2000 -Continuing the fine-tuning process in preparation for the upcoming season, Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani of the Player's CART Team completed their first off-season testing on ovals, putting the new Ford engine-powered Player's Reynard 2KI through its paces on the Homestead track. The Homestead oval is the site of the opening race of the 2000 season, on March 26.
The two Quebec drivers came out of the session in Florida in an upbeat frame of mind, convinced that the results they have obtained thus far augur well for a rousing start to the new season.
"Originally, the plans were for us to be on the track for two days (January 7-8), but we quickly got up to the speeds we were hoping to reach, and once we had done that we decided to keep a day in the bank for testing on a road course," explained Carpentier, who shared the track with fellow CART competitors such as Paul Tracy, Adrian Fernandez, Max Papis and rookie Kenny Brack.
"I think the management of the Player's CART Team made a wise decision in going with the Ford engine for the 2000 season, and this, along with the solid relationship I have with my new chief engineer Michael Cannon - a Montreal native - gives me the feeling that things are going to go well," added the 28-year-old driver, who clocked a fast lap of 26.79 seconds on the 1.5-mile oval.
With Carpentier finishing up ahead of time, his teammate Alex Tagliani was able to begin his session a day earlier than scheduled. He put in about 300 miles on Sunday and Monday, his first laps behind the wheel of a Champ Car on an oval configuration. In his baptism of fire, Tagliani literally sizzled, recording times that were better or comparable to those registered by established drivers.
"I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly I was able to adapt to the driving style for an oval track, and I'm encouraged to see that the times I clocked compare favourably to those put up by the veterans in the series," remarked Tagliani, who posted a fast lap of 26.89 seconds. "I'm training really hard to make sure that I'll be ready to go when the season starts, and I think the Player's team is satisfied with the progress I've made so far."
Toronto's Phil LePan, who was in charge of the testing sessions, stressed that it is most important to make the most of these testing days allotted by the CART series.
"We only have eight testing days per driver during the off-season, and we feel that we collected enough information to be able to run among the leaders on this type of oval," he stated. "Both of our drivers were not only able to put in fast times, but they were able to do it consistently, which is a good indication of the quality of the set-ups."
The next testing sessions for the Player's CART Team are scheduled for the end of the month (January 26-27), when Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani take to the one-mile oval in Phoenix.