CHAMPCAR/CART: Winter Testing Continues

Winter Testing Continues (December 18, 1998) - Christian Fittipaldi (Kmart Swift Ford) tested Newman/Haas Racing's 1999 Swift/Ford Cosworth package for the first time Monday at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway. Fittipaldi continued the test...

Winter Testing Continues

(December 18, 1998) - Christian Fittipaldi (Kmart Swift Ford) tested Newman/Haas Racing's 1999 Swift/Ford Cosworth package for the first time Monday at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway. Fittipaldi continued the test Tuesday before teammate Michael Andretti (Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Swift Ford) took the wheel Wednesday.

"We got started testing this morning and right away I could tell Swift had made improvements with the car," Fittipaldi said following Monday's session. "We tested until the lunch break with no major adjustments and the car was better than last year. Right away, we were quicker than we were here [at Sebring, in the '98 equipment package] a couple of weeks ago."

"At Sebring, there aren't many high-speed corners, but from what I can tell from the highest speed corners, I can feel more grip. The car feels smoother in the turns. It's not as aggressive as the '98 car. You can carry the speed through the corner more, which is very important. We were able to get a good baseline of knowledge about the car. The entire team is motivated and upbeat. It is no secret that we didn't live up to our potential last season, but everyone at Newman/Haas is working hard to regain our dominance."

Mark Blundell (Motorola PacWest Mercedes) conducted the first oval test of the PacWest Racing Group's '99 Reynard chassis at Phoenix International Raceway Wednesday and Thursday, completing approximately 300 miles on the mile oval without incident. "We learned a considerable amount," Blundell said afterward. "This hasn't been an easy week of testing considering the weather, but the guys did a good job. We're going away with a lot of data to digest and a number of development areas to work on. We ran the new aerodynamic regulations [which include speedway wings at 1999 FedEx Championship Series events contested on short ovals], and tried to understand the characteristics of the car with those changes in place."

Rookie Cristiano da Matta (MCI Reynard Toyota) of Arciero-Wells/MCI WorldCom Racing began a multi-day test session at the Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex Friday. It marked the second Homestead test for da Matta, the 1998 PPG-Dayton Indy Lights champion, whose first test at the facility came last month. "Then, I only had a half-day testing, and I was still getting used to the team, the car, and everything," da Matta remembered. "Now, we're going to spend several days testing here on the road course, and then test several days on the oval. So, this is really my first time testing here with the team." Scott Pruett (Pioneer Reynard Toyota), da Matta's Arciero-Wells teammate, also participated in the weekend test.

Source: CART Online

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Christian Fittipaldi , Scott Pruett , Mark Blundell , Cristiano da Matta