CHAMPCAR/CART: Sebring test, day one report 2006-03-22

CHAMP CAR WORLD SERIES TEAMS TAKE TO TESTING TRAIL IN SEBRING SEBRING, Fla. (March 22, 2006) -- With less than three weeks remaining until the Champ Car World Series season opener in Long Beach, the teams and drivers of the Bridgestone Presents...

CHAMP CAR WORLD SERIES TEAMS TAKE TO TESTING TRAIL IN SEBRING

SEBRING, Fla. (March 22, 2006) -- With less than three weeks remaining until the Champ Car World Series season opener in Long Beach, the teams and drivers of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford are gearing up by turning laps 3,000 miles away from the streets of Long Beach.

Five of the drivers that will chase the Vanderbilt Cup this year tuned up during the first of two days of Champ Car testing at Sebring, including two-time defending series champion Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone). Times were unavailable at the conclusion of today's test, but unofficial clockings showed the majority of the drivers taking full advantage of a very grippy track to log times in the 50-second range.

"We're not out here to be the champions of Sebring," said new HVM-CTE Racing signee Nelson Philippe (#4 HVM-CTE Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone). "We just need to get out here, build some team chemistry and make sure we are ready for Long Beach. That's what we did today."

Philippe and 2005 series runner-up Oriol Servia (#6 Gulfstream/Bell Micro Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) made their first tests of the year with their new teams today, Philippe with HVM-CTE Racing and Servia with PKV Racing.

For Servia though, it was a bit more like Old Home Week than it was moving to a new team at PKV. He goes back to work for the same Jim McGee-led crew that oversaw his 2002 and 2003 seasons at Patrick Racing.

"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 now," Servia grinned. "Overall, today was a good first day 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."

Newman/Haas ran both Bourdais and Bruno Junqueira (#2 Newman/Haas Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) on full days, with Bourdais unofficially credited with the fastest lap of the day.

"I think our guys are ready for Long Beach and we need to be ready because the other teams are improving," said Newman/Haas Racing Team Manager John Tzouanakis. "We put in a lot of miles today and are pretty pleased with the results"

The teams will be back on the test track tomorrow for a full day of testing leading into next week's open test at California Speedway. The Champ Cars will be on the Fontana infield course next Wednesday and Thursday for two days of testing prior to the April 7-9 season-opening Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

-ccws-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Oriol Servia , Sébastien Bourdais , Nelson Philippe