Monterey, Calif. - Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian, new residents of Indianapolis, were anxious to leave the snow and head west for their Jan. 5 test at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterrey, Calif. ...
Monterey, Calif. - Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian, new residents of Indianapolis, were anxious to leave the snow and head west for their Jan. 5 test at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterrey, Calif. The weather didn't disappoint Junqueira and Minassian, and the drivers' performance didn't disappoint Team Target. The duo logged a total of 340 miles in sunny, 80-degree weather.
Junqueira and Minassian drove problem-free 2001 Toyota-Lolas, assisted by a full pit crew and technical support staff, allowing the drivers to make significant progress throughout the one-day test.
"This was our first natural road course test this winter, so we focused our attention in the morning on allowing Bruno and Nicolas to learn the circuit," said Team Target managing director Mike Hull. "During the afternoon session, Bruno and Nicolas were able to open it up and really get a feel for racing on this road course. They both made great strides. And, as usual, we were thrilled with our mechanics and crew for giving us such great cars."
According to Minassian, runner up to Junqueira in the 2000 FIA International F3000 Series, the Laguna Seca track is as beautiful as Monterrey.
"This track is unlike anything I've ever experienced before, " Minassian said. "The nuances of the corners were so much different than an oval, and the elevation change at the corkscrew felt like a roller coaster ride. It took some getting used to, but I'm enjoying these new challenges. And this area is so beautiful. I'm very excited to return and spend more time here."
Defending F3000 champion Junqueira believes he has room to improve at Laguna Seca, where Team Target has won twice (1996 and 1997), but is excited about his progress.
"This track really tests a driver's skill," Junqueira said. "Each corner is very different, and it took me awhile to perfect my turns. This test was helpful. I felt like I improved with every lap. The next time I driver here, I'll be ready for it."
Team Target continues its off-season testing Jan. 15 at the 2-mile oval at California Speedway in Fontana, Calif.