CHAMPCAR/CART: Tora faster yet at Homestead test

Homestead, Fla., Feb. 2, 2001 -- Walker Racing rookie driver Tora (Tiger) Takagi continued his quick adaptation to oval race tracks and was once again one of the fastest drivers at a two-day test on the 1.5-mile track in Homestead this...

Homestead, Fla., Feb. 2, 2001 -- Walker Racing rookie driver Tora (Tiger) Takagi continued his quick adaptation to oval race tracks and was once again one of the fastest drivers at a two-day test on the 1.5-mile track in Homestead this week.

Tora completed a total of 362 miles during the test session in the #5 Pioneer/DENSOSpecial/Toyota/Reynard car and had a best time of 26.8 seconds, only one-tenth off the pace of the fastest car at the private test.

The Japanese rookie and Formula One veteran had never been in any type of race car on an oval before last week's test session at Phoenix International Raceway (Jan. 24 -- 25), and this week's work at Homestead helped to increase his understanding of the CART FedEx Championship car. "In my first time on an oval last week in a Champ Car, I was learning what normal behavior is for this kind of car as well as learning a new kind of track," Tora said. "I could have gone faster yesterday during testing at Homestead, but I don't know exactly what the limits of the car are yet and didn't want to push it too hard. I have a fair amount of confidence already in the Champ car on the road courses, and am becoming more used to the ovals each time I drive them."

On day one of the test (Jan. 31), the Walker Racing team continued to work on getting understeer out of the racecar and Tora logged a total of 117 laps and a best time of 27.7 seconds. Tora's best lap for the test session was clocked on day two (Feb. 1) with 128 total laps run for the day. Owner Derrick Walker continues to be impressed with his rookie's performance. "Tora drives with a great deal of confidence," said Walker. " And I continue to be very impressed with the Toyota engine's reliability and performance. The car is not yet perfect, but is closer than it was in Phoenix. Our testing circus travels next to Laguna Seca, a track we expect Tora to quickly settle into. It should be another good one."

The Walker Racing team's test at Laguna Seca Raceway will be on Feb. 13 -- 15.

Walker Racing's sponsors are DENSO Corporation, Pioneer Electronics, Firestone, PPG, Craftsman, St. Elmo Steakhouse, Toyota and Reynard.

-Walker Racing

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Series IndyCar