ROCKETSPORTS RACING TO PARTICIPATE IN PORTLAND CHAMP CAR TEST WITH PIZZONIA AND PASTORELLI EAST LANSING, Michigan (April 12, 2006) - Seen in the Rocketsports Racing pits during the Champ Car season opener in Long Beach, Nicky Pastorelli will...
ROCKETSPORTS RACING TO PARTICIPATE IN PORTLAND CHAMP CAR TEST WITH PIZZONIA AND PASTORELLI
EAST LANSING, Michigan (April 12, 2006) - Seen in the Rocketsports Racing pits during the Champ Car season opener in Long Beach, Nicky Pastorelli will join Antonio Pizzonia and the team to test drive the #8 Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone to log some time behind the wheel at Portland International Raceway during the two day Champ Car test, April 12 - 13.
Pizzonia made his Champ Car debut driving the #8 Rocketsports Lola last weekend in Long Beach, qualifying 11th and finishing in the tenth spot. As he continued to get used to the Champ Car and working with the Rocketsports team, his times continued to improve throughout the weekend. He demonstrated to the team that he was able to take his testing experience to the next level in a Champ Car by successfully completing a race weekend and the team wants to give him more time in the seat. They will run the Brazilian on Thursday during the two-day test.
"I am happy that we were able to have a good weekend in Long Beach," said Pizzonia on making his Champ Car debut with Rocketsports Racing. "I am feeling very comfortable with the team and car, and I think we were able to make some good improvements throughout the weekend. The car was great to drive, and I know that I am capable of doing much more inside of the cockpit out there on the track. I want to continue to prove my abilities to the team, so I am happy to have the chance to test the car again this week in Portland."
Pizzonia will be working with Pastorelli during this test. Pastorelli is a former Jordan-Toyota Formula One test driver who tested with Dale Coyne Racing in Fontana at the California Speedwa y with most of the Champ Car teams the week before the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. "The Champ Car is more fun to drive," said the 22-year-old from the Netherlands when asked to compare a Champ Car and a Formula One race car. "The test went well. Better than I expected, because I did not drive a racecar for 7 months. We made progress during the sessions, and I was 10th overall with a time of 53.910, which was not too bad after such a long time since I had been in a racecar."
Born in The Hague, Netherlands, the italo-Dutch driver comes from mixed parentage. His father is Italian and his mother is Dutch. He was first introduced to the sport of karting at the age of ten. He drove his first laps at an empty parking lot. Pastorelli fell in love with the sport and less than a year later he was making practice laps at the professional Strijen Circuit.
In 1993, he started in the Mini League followed by Junior League, in which he had his first successes. At the age of 14, Pastorelli became a member of Peter de Bruin's karting team. He stayed there for several seasons and drove the ICA and Formula A Leagues. In 2000, he moved to the Formula Arcobaleno League. Competing in six out of eight races, he won the pole position five times, earned three wins, and finished third in the Dutch Championship. In 2001 he entered the Formula Renault 2000 European Championship before moving into the Euro 3000 Series in 2003, where he earned two second place finishes and finished fifth in the championship. He was crowned the Superfund Euro 3000 Champion and earned his first chance to drive a Champ Car with Walker Racing at Sebring. Pastorelli was a F1 test driver in 2005 with Jordan, and was the first driver to be officially introduced in the "Young Driver Programme" initiated by Midland F1 to help promising junior drivers develop their talent in preparation for entry to Formula One.
"I am really excited about this opportunity to run with Rocketsports Racing," said Pastorelli. "I was fortunate to test in Fontana in a Champ Car just a few weeks ago, but it was only a one-day test so I did not get as much time behind the wheel as I would have like to. This will be a two-day test, so I will really be able to get started in terms of really learning the car in all aspects. I look forward to working with the team, as I followed them in Long Beach. I hope that we can have a good test as I continue to get used to a Champ Car and prepare for a future in the series."