CHAMPCAR/CART: Tasman Motorsports News 98-09-02

Tasman Motorsports Group Current Team News While teams head off for the Molson Indy Vancouver this weekend, Tasman Motorsports is looking ahead as it continues its aerodynamic development program at the Reynard North America wind tunnel...

Tasman Motorsports Group Current Team News

While teams head off for the Molson Indy Vancouver this weekend, Tasman Motorsports is looking ahead as it continues its aerodynamic development program at the Reynard North America wind tunnel facility in Indianapolis, Indiana. The team has produced a 40 percent scale model which it has been testing throughout the 1998 season both in Indianapolis, at the Reynard tunnel which has been operational since May, and in Europe.

"This is a brand-new wind tunnel developed by Reynard," explained Steve Horne. "There have been a few minor teething problems, but it certainly has proved to be very beneficial so far. The convenience of having it in Indianapolis, only three hours from our race shop, is very valuable.

"With a major prize of $1 million up for grabs at the final race of the season at Fontana, we are following up on what we learned on the track at Michigan (Speedway), which is virtually identical to Fontana, in preparation for this event."

The prize Horne refers to is the $1 million payout to the driver who wins the season finale at California Speedway. In addition, one lucky fan may become an instant millionaire in CART's 'Million Dollar Payday' promotion.

Tony Kanaan finished 11th in his superspeedway Champ Car debut at the U.S. 500 at Michigan Speedway on July 26.

The FedEx Championship Series has been visiting the cosmopolitan city of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada since 1990. The same goes for the Indy Lights series with the exception of 1991, when it took a year's hiatus.

When the teams and drivers arrive in Vancouver this weekend however, they will be looking at an entirely new circuit.

"It might as well be in a completely different city, although I'm glad it's not," said Steve Horne. "This is a totally new track and anything we learned over the past years is rendered irrelevant. Everyone is starting with a clean sheet of paper this weekend."

Cristiano da Matta could clinch the 1998 PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship title this weekend. Da Matta currently has a 28-point lead with three events remaining -- Vancouver, Laguna Seca and Fontana. To do so, he would need to leave the Molson Indy Vancouver weekend with a 45-point lead, meaning he would need to finish first or second -- and second would be good enough only if he picked up one of the two points awarded for pole position or most laps led.

"How do you say it, the stars must be aligned," joked da Matta. "I would love to wrap things up this weekend but there are a lot of factors involved. We had a great test recently at Gingerman Raceway in preparation for Vancouver, but with the changes to the circuit, we are basically racing at a new track for the first time. We'll give it our best shot."

Da Matta, however, is leaving nothing to chance in the "luck" area.

"My mother is coming over from Brazil for the Vancouver and Laguna races," said da Matta. "She was here last year for both races and I won both. She brings me luck."

Qwest Communications (pronounced Quest) and LCI International, the primary sponsor of Tony Kanaan's #21 Reynard-Honda, merged on June 5 of this year. The merger created the fourth-largest U.S. long distance company with over two million business and residential customers and the most advanced fiber optic network in the world.

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Tony Kanaan , Steve Horne , Cristiano da Matta