Sebring, Fla. - Team Target drivers Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian spent Feb. 19-21 practicing live pit stops and logging more than 450 miles at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla. The Target Chip Ganassi Racing ...
Sebring, Fla. - Team Target drivers Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian spent Feb. 19-21 practicing live pit stops and logging more than 450 miles at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla. The Target Chip Ganassi Racing rookies conducted pit stop practice on Monday and alternated road course testing Tuesday and Wednesday. Junqueira and Minassian ran alongside FedEx Series stars, including Michael Andretti, Alex Zanardi, Bryan Herta, Tony Kanaan, Chrisitian Fittipaldi and Paul Tracy. According to Team Target managing director Mike Hull, the young duo kept pace with the CART veterans. "I'm very pleased with how much we've completed during our winter testing," Hull said. "We've put Bruno and Nicolas in race conditions with other drivers on the track and they've both performed admirably. They also gained some good experience with the live pit stop practice this week. I'm impressed with their concentration level and attention to detail. They realize that practice is a key to success in this series, and their hard work has paid off with some impressive results on the track." Junqueira kicked off the road course testing on Tuesday, working with team engineers Julian Robertson and Bill Pappas, as well as Minassian, to optimize the aero and grip level package for the No. 4 Toyota-Lola. "We did a lot of fine-tuning this week, " said Junqueira, last year's F3000 Series champion. "I feel very comfortable in the Toyota-Lola, and I trust my team's feedback on the car. I think we've created some good team chemistry, and, like Chip (Ganassi) and Mike (Hull) say, that can be just as important as a good car. Team Target is ready for the 2001 season."
Minassian tested on Wednesday in the No. 12 Toyota-Lola. The 2000 F3000 Series runner-up got a feel for race weekend conditions, with the track's grip levels constantly changing due to seven cars laying down rubber. "Today was a very challenging test, but I think it was a good learning opportunity," Minassian said. "My car's grip seemed to change with each lap, but we worked through it and were able to find the right balance. I'm grateful for this team's experience. For every question I had, a teammate had the answer. A good test like this makes Bruno and me even more excited for our first race. " Target Chip Ganassi Racing continues its off-season testing Feb. 26-28 at Firebird International Raceway's 1.25-mile road course in Phoenix.