This Week in Ford Racing September 3, 2002 CART FedEx Championship The CART FedEx Championship Series returns to England on September 14th for its second visit to the Rockingham Motorspeedway, a 1.5-mile oval in Corby, England. This race is ...
This Week in Ford Racing
September 3, 2002
CART FedEx Championship
The CART FedEx Championship Series returns to England on September 14th for its second visit to the Rockingham Motorspeedway, a 1.5-mile oval in Corby, England. This race is particularly special for Cosworth Racing, Ford's technical partner in cart, because it's located just down the road from Cosworth's headquarters in Northampton. Cosworth had a large contingent of its employees attend the race last year and after witnessing the race and walking through the paddock, the stands are sure to be filled with even more Cosworth employees and their friends and families this year.
IAN BISCO, Vice-President, Cosworth Racing, Inc.
HOW IMPORTANT IS THE UPCOMING RACE AT THE ROCKINGHAM MOTOR SPEEDWAY TO THE FOLKS AT COSWORTH, ESPECIALLY SINCE IT'S FAIRLY CLOSE TO YOUR CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS IN NORTHAMPTON? "I think the biggest thing is that we have a lot of employees working out of our home base in the UK and it's really the only time that they get a chance to actually see the engines that they work on in action. Of all the years we've been involved in Champ Car racing we're still remote over here in the United States and I think the introduction of that event last year and those employees that went, they were in awe of what they saw. I believe there will be a lot more folks from Cosworth going this year that will want to see the engines they work on perform and it would be really, really nice if we could have a victory."
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR YOU TO DO WELL IN THIS RACE? "I would guess that of all the races on the CART circuit there's the feeling that you'd really like to do well at your home event. We're really the only engine manufacturer that does a lot of its work in the UK and it would be especially nice if we could succeed and get a win at Rockingham. We ran very strong there last year only to get 'pipped' on the last corner, but I think we were extremely competitive and I think it was an extremely competitive race. We led a lot of laps at Rockingham last year and it was gratifying to see that we could do well."
HOW MUCH DID COSWORTH'S NORTHAMPTON-BASED EMPLOYEES ENJOY THE RACE LAST YEAR? "Anybody who went to the race who lives in the UK, and I personally had family and friends who went, had heard of CART and maybe seen it on TV in the UK, had a great time. I had some old friends that I used to be involved with in Formula One that I hadn't seen in probably 20 years that came to the race and they were staggered. They couldn't believe how close they could get to everything and see the cars, see the drivers and get close to the perimeter of the track to feel the speed of the cars as they went by at over 200 miles per hour just 20 feet away. It was mind-boggling for them and they were in awe of the entire experience."
SURELY THEY ENJOYED WALKING AROUND AND TAKING PICTURES IN THE PADDOCK. "Absolutely. It was similar to the race this season in Montreal where the fans aren't used to that kind of access. They had almost been brainwashed into the fact that you can't go into the paddock and you have to use a pair of binoculars to see the drivers. But CART has really given the fans the opportunity to get up close to the drivers, get an autograph and see the cars up close - it's night and day compared to what they're used to. Just like it was in Montreal, it was a real eye-opening experience for everyone and I think that'll help being more fans to this year's race."
TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT ROCKINGHAM MOTOR SPEEDWAY'S UNIQUE LAYOUT. IT'S UNLIKE MOST OVAL TRACKS IN THE UNITED STATES IN THAT EACH OF ITS FOUR TURNS ARE DIFFERENT FROM THE OTHER. "I think from a driver's point of view it's an extremely demanding track. It's a very, very fast track and there's not much time to breathe. The drivers have to concentrate very hard and I would guess that it's very demanding in terms of the drivers' skills and need to concentrate for an entire lap. From an engine manufacturers' perspective it's also very demanding because the drivers spend so much time at full throttle and that puts a lot of stress on the engines."
LOOKING BACK ON YOUR EXPERIENCE AT ROCKINGHAM LAST YEAR AND WHAT YOU USED IN THE OVAL TRACK RACES THIS SEASON, ARE YOU MAKING ANY SPECIFIC CHANGES FOR THIS RACE? "We'll have a similar package, but we have to keep in mind that it this track puts a very high duty cycle on the engines so we may be a little conservative on the RPM's based on the length of the race. But I think we'll have a couple of minor changes that should improve our performance and we'll do everything we can to come out of there with a victory."
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU LEARNED FROM THE RACE EARLIER THIS SEASON ON THE HIGH-SPEED OVAL IN MOTEGI, JAPAN, THAT YOU CAN APPLY TO THIS RACE? "If we learned anything from Motegi this year, it was that perhaps we were a little bit too conservative with our race strategy. Based on what we learned from Motegi, which like Rockingham is a high-duty cycle track, we're probably going to be a little bit more aggressive in our approach to the race and incorporate some of the advancements that we've made with engine's performance and software."
CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE NEW TEAM, TEAM ST. GEORGE, THAT'S GOING TO MAKE IT'S DEBUT AT ROCKINGHAM USING FORD-COSWORTH ENGINES? FORMER CART OWNER DALE COYNE HAS BEEN INSTRUMENTAL IN PUTTING THIS TEAM TOGETHER, ALTHOUGH THE DRIVER HAS YET TO BE NAMED. "I think it's exciting that Dale has been able to get involved and put a package together to bring somewhat of a British flavor to the race. It's something else for the Brits to support and it's great that there's some outside interest in getting involved in CART. Hopefully, it'll lead to participation by Team St. George and perhaps some other British teams in some of the other races that we have, whether they be in Europe, the United States or elsewhere in the world."