CHAMPCAR/CART: Spring Training Player's Wrapup

Sebring, Florida, December 21, 1999 - In their first time on the track together as teammates on the Player's CART Team, Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani wrapped up a two-day testing session today on the 1.65-mile Sebring, Florida road ...

Sebring, Florida, December 21, 1999 - In their first time on the track together as teammates on the Player's CART Team, Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani wrapped up a two-day testing session today on the 1.65-mile Sebring, Florida road course.

While Tagliani, the former Player's Atlantic Team driver who is a rookie in the CART series, continued to pile up the practice laps under a radiant Florida sunshine, Carpentier worked on the shakedown of the Player's Reynard 2000, which is equipped with a new engine.

The new Ford-Cosworth XF engine was an immediate hit with Carpentier.

"There were a fair number of mechanical problems, such as fuel pickup, which limited our track time, but they were problems you would expect in breaking in a new car," explained the Joliette, Que., driver. "I can definitely say that the new Ford-Cosworth engine produced results that surpassed my expectations. The driveability is a lot different than what I've experienced so far. Even with less downforce, I was able to put in faster times on the straights than I did last year. That's a good sign for next season."

Neil Micklewright, Vice President of Operations for the Player's team, who was on site to oversee the testing sessions, said he is impressed by the drivers' progress.

"The Player's team had to deal with a lot of data over the last two days, including data pertaining to the new Ford engine," he noted. "We absolutely needed to use these tests to study all the new components. And even though Patrick didn't get in a lot of track time, we're satisfied with the work that was done. As for Tagliani, his progress is obvious and that's extremely encouraging given the challenge that lies ahead in his first year in the CART series."

As he continues to impress people with his quick climb on the learning curve and his fast laps on the track, the 27-year-old Tagliani is enjoying every minute of his off-season training.

"I think the Player's team is satisfied with my results so far," declared the Lachenaie, Que., driver. "Yesterday (Monday), we clocked the second-fastest time of the day (51.8 seconds) and we consistently improved on that today. This morning, we shattered the 51.3-second mark. We really took full advantage of these tests by putting in more than 200 miles on the track and by using all six sets of tires that we were allotted."

The next testing sessions for the Player's CART Team will take place on January 7-8, 2000, on the Homestead, Florida oval, with Carpentier conducting some special tests for the Firestone Tire company.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani