HILLIARD, OHIO . . . Team Rahal completed a busy week of pre-season testing in Arizona with two days working on the team's oval package at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR). Both Miller Lite driver Max Papis and Shell driver Kenny Brack logged...
HILLIARD, OHIO . . . Team Rahal completed a busy week of pre-season testing in Arizona with two days working on the team's oval package at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR). Both Miller Lite driver Max Papis and Shell driver Kenny Brack logged three test days apiece this week running Monday at Firebird Raceway and Wednesday and Thursday at PIR.
The team continues to work to familiarize itself with the Lola B1/00 Champ Car chassis and the Ford-Cosworth XF engine. Team Rahal is making the switch to Lola for 2001 after having run a Reynard chassis since 1996.
"The results of the test at Phoenix were extraordinary considering this was our first test with the Lola chassis on an oval," said Mark Johnson, Team Rahal Director of Operations. "One of the reasons we made the switch to Lola was that we felt over the course of last season the Lola had an advantage on the ovals over the competition. Our belief in the Lola was reconfirmed at the Phoenix test. I was also impressed by the strides Ford-Cosworth has made with the XF engine over the winter. It is apparent that Cosworth isn't content with having just won the manufacturer's championship last season, they are working hard to make sure the XF engine is even better in 2001."
Both Team Rahal cars logged significant miles at Firebird Raceway on Monday. Brack posted the fastest lap of the two Team Rahal cars notching a lap of 47.9-seconds.
Brack paced the 11-car test at PIR on Wednesday with a fast lap timed at 20.9-seconds. Papis paced the field on Thursday with a fast lap of 20.6-seconds while Brack posted the third fastest lap at 20.8-seconds.
"Every time we test we learn quite a bit more about the Lola cars," said Larry Ellert, Team Rahal's Race Team Manager. "The biggest challenge for our team is getting to a comfort level with the Lola chassis after having run Reynard the last five years." "The limit on the test days certainly has made our job tougher," said Johnson. "What is encouraging is the confidence that our drivers and engineers have with the package. Due to that confidence in our oval package we will most likely spend the rest of our testing days preparing for the road courses that open the 2001 season."
The team will continue preparations for the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series with a test at Sebring International Raceway in early February. The 2001 season opens with the inaugural Monterrey Grand Prix in Monterrey, Mexico March 9-11.
Team Rahal is a franchise member of Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART). Headquartered in Hilliard, Ohio, the team co-owned by three-time CART Champion Bobby Rahal and CBS LATE SHOW host David Letterman currently fields a pair of Championship Cars for Max Papis and Kenny Brack in the CART FedEx Championship Series. The 90-member team enjoys primary sponsorship from Miller Brewing Company and the Texaco/Shell Alliance with the Shell brand.
- Brent Maurer