Final test of the season for Team Player's is a productive one on the Mid-Ohio Road Course. Lexington, Ohio, May 21, 2002 The testing phase of the CART season came to an end for Team Player's on Tuesday as it completed a successful ...
Final test of the season for Team Player's is a productive one on the Mid-Ohio Road Course.
Lexington, Ohio, May 21, 2002 The testing phase of the CART season came to an end for Team Player's on Tuesday as it completed a successful two-day session devoted strictly to engine testing on the 2.258-mile permanent road circuit at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Alex Tagliani was on the track Monday, running 71 laps, while his teammate Patrick Carpentier toured the course on Tuesday and put in 61 laps.
"Both of these days were set aside on the CART schedule to allow teams to run engine tests," explained Team Player's technical director Bruce Ashmore. "These aren't sessions where you can make changes to springs or dampers or aerodynamic components, but you can do a significant amount of engine work, including such things as testing out weight distribution, traction control and boost maps. We were able to do a lot of engine fine-tuning for road-course events such as Laguna, Portland and Mid-Ohio, which will be coming up over the next several weeks."
Tagliani, who shared the track on Monday with Rahal's Michel Jourdain, Mario Dominguez of Herdez/Bettenhausen and Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti, managed to clock one of the fastest times 66.4 seconds despite the inclement weather that included 50-60-degree Fahrenheit track temperatures and rain and hail at certain times.
"It was good to have a session where you experienced so many different elements of nature," said Tagliani. "Despite the weather, the track was in good condition and lots of rubber was laid down. I'm not sure if the times we put in will be the same under race weekend conditions, but I do know that the entire session was beneficial from the standpoint of preparing us for racing at Mid-Ohio and similar-type tracks that we'll have to handle later on this season."
Carpentier and Franchitti had the track to themselves for the Tuesday session, and with the help of partly sunny skies that raised the track temperature into the 60s, Carpentier recorded an unofficial fast lap of 65.7 seconds, which, as the day drew to a close, was the quickest of the session.
"There was a lot of good work put in by both Team Player's and Ford," remarked Carpentier. "Alex tested some things on Monday and we continued along those lines on Tuesday. Overall, I'm very happy with how everything turned out, especially the significant improvement on traction control since the races in Monterrey and Long Beach earlier this season. We also spent some time practising pit launches with the traction control helping to avoid wheel spin. I believe the entire team left this two-day session confident that we'll be able to handle whatever comes up in our next few road-course events."
Team Player's resumes racing action on June 2 with the running of the Miller Lite 225 on the Milwaukee Mile oval. That race is the start of a hectic schedule that sees the CART series drivers competing in six events in a seven-week span.