CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Penske looking forward to Monterrey

The CART FedEx Championship Series heads to Monterrey, Mexico this weekend for the inaugural Tecate Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix. The kick-off event of the 2001 season will be held at the new 2.1-mile road course at Fundidora Park marking the ...

The CART FedEx Championship Series heads to Monterrey, Mexico this weekend for the inaugural Tecate Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix. The kick-off event of the 2001 season will be held at the new

2.1-mile road course at Fundidora Park marking the first time CART has raced in Mexico in two decades. Rick Mears, current Team Advisor, won the Mexico City race in 1980 and 1981 while driving for Team Penske.

Gil de Ferran begins his campaign for a second consecutive CART Championship behind the wheel of his red and white #1 2001 Marlboro Honda Reynard. His Brazilian compatriot and teammate, Helio Castroneves, will climb into his #3 2001 Marlboro Honda Reynard in hopes of capturing his first Vanderbilt Cup this season.

Starting the year on a road/street course bodes well for Marlboro Team Penske if past performance is any indication of future success. During the 2000 season, the Team captured four wins on road/street courses (Detroit, Portland, Mid-Ohio and Laguna Seca), six poles (Long Beach, Portland, Toronto, Mid-Ohio, Laguna Seca and Houston), ten top-five finishes, and Castroneves had the most laps led on a road/street course with 245 while de Ferran was second with 154.

DE FERRAN ON MONTERREY, MEXICO

"I am looking forward to getting the 2001 CART FedEx Series season under way. "I'm going to Monterrey, Mexico on Wednesday so I can spend time there and get a chance to see the new circuit before we start running on Friday. "I've heard good things about it and expect we will put on a good show for the fans. Marlboro Team Penske's off-season preparation has gone relatively well - even though I personally did not do a lot of testing - so I'm hopeful that we will have a competitive weekend."

CASTRONEVES ON MONTERREY, MEXICO

"I've been to the city of Monterrey and it's going to be great for CART and for Mexico to have us race there. "The fans are very enthusiastic and it should be a fun event for everyone. "I think Marlboro Team Penske will be able to carry the momentum from last year into 2001. "For me, I've got a year of experience with the Team and driving the car so I hope to kick-off the season with a good performance."

While Marlboro Team Penske enters the season with the same basic package -- Honda power, Reynard chassis and Firestone tires -- there have been a number of modifications to this year's car. The main area of change is in the aerodynamics. All of the bodywork -- side pods, the underwing, and engine cover -- is new for 2001. Also, to meet CART's new engine formula, Honda has developed an engine with 37 inches of boost versus 40 inches of boost that was allowed last year. The Monterrey event will be the first race where teams will run with the reduced boost.

Not everything has changed, however. The gear box and tub remain essentially the same as last season (based on CART's rules package).

TIM CINDRIC ON THE 2001 CAR

"Although Marlboro Team Penske is entering the 2001 season with a great deal of continuity, our aerodynamics package has changed a bit from last season. Also, Mexico will be the first time we'll be able to evaluate the new Honda engine

(37 inches of boost), combined with a revised cooling package, in race conditions. At the end of this weekend, we should have a clear measure of our Team relative to our competition as we prepare for Long Beach."

-MTP-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Rick Mears
Teams Team Penske