CHAMPCAR/CART: Testing notes 2003-09-12

INDIANAPOLIS (September 12, 2003) - Having just completed a stretch of five races in six weekends, the teams and drivers of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford could be forgiven for collapsing wearily into the...

INDIANAPOLIS (September 12, 2003) - Having just completed a stretch of five races in six weekends, the teams and drivers of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford could be forgiven for collapsing wearily into the nearest easy chair and catching up on some sleep.

But running up front in the Champ Car World Series takes a bit of overtime, so three of the series teams took some of their off-event time and went testing in order to prepare for the remainder of the 2003 season and beyond.

The short course at Sebring International Raceway, site of CART Champ Car's Spring Training in 2003, saw Patrick Racing and Fernandez Racing turning laps on Tuesday and Wednesday, while American Spirit Team Johansson headed for California Speedway in Fontana.

Patrick Racing tested a pair of rookies on the short course over the two days, putting Porsche Supercup driver Pierre Kaffer and British F3 pilot Robbie Kerr in its Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone. Oriol Servia, who is currently sixth in the Champ Car points, was on hand to help establish a base line for the car prior to the rookie test.

"Both drivers did a good job considering that they had no experience in these cars and with this much power," said Patrick Racing General Manager Jim McGee. "We're pleased with the job they both did and they both ran fairly competitive times."

American Spirit tested on the two-mile California Speedway oval in preparation for the 2003 season finale November 2nd, with rookie Ryan Hunter-Reay running the team's Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone.

"After all of the road and street courses we've been running, you have to come out to the ovals and recalibrate yourself," Hunter-Reay said. "I feel like I've done that now. It's amazing because the tiniest changes you make on the car here can really be felt on the track. I think we have a chance to do well here in November."

Adrian Fernandez is in the midst of his best season as an owner/driver in the CART Champ Car World Series, standing seventh in the points with a win in Portland to his credit. The veteran ran nearly 200 miles and was pleased with his team's progress.

"It was a very positive test. We ran a lot of miles and we went through a lot of the things we needed to do. We learned a lot of good things." Fernandez said.

The Champ Cars will next hit the track September 26-28 on the street circuit in Miami, Florida for the Grand Prix Americas Presented by Sportsbook.com. Qualifying will take place Friday and Saturday with Sunday's race to be broadcast by CBS Sports beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Oriol Servia , Robbie Kerr , Pierre Kaffer