IRL: Dan Wheldon takes to the track in Japan

Dan Wheldon made his debut for Andretti-Green Racing earlier today when he took to the track at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan for the first official practice sessions for the Indy Japan 300 -- the first IndyCar Series race ever to take place outside...

Dan Wheldon made his debut for Andretti-Green Racing earlier today when he took to the track at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan for the first official practice sessions for the Indy Japan 300 -- the first IndyCar Series race ever to take place outside the USA.

The 24-year old Englishman -- who is substituting for his injured team-mate Dario Franchitti -- set the 12th fastest time overall (out of 24 entries). Wheldon's fastest lap was 26.9244 seconds, a speed of 203.236 mph in the No. 27 Alpine / Archipelago /Motorola Dallara / Honda / Firestone.

At the end of today's practice sessions, Dan Wheldon said: "I definitely don't have as much experience as my team-mates (Michael Andretti and Tony Kanaan), and that is showing right now.

"I don't think we are where we want to be, but we are close. As the weekend continues, I'm sure we'll improve the Alpine / Archipelago / Motorola car, and we'll definitely be closer to the front. Driving Dario's (Franchitti) car really isn't much different than driving my own. I actually tested this car last week, so I have a bit of familiarity with it. It was a big surprise to learn that I was driving this weekend, and I have to say getting in the car this morning has been the highlight of my trip so far.'

Wheldon competed in his first two IndyCar Series races for Panther Racing last year. In 1999 he won the US Formula Ford 2000 Championship and was Rookie of the Year. He came second in both the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship (2000) and the CART Dayton Indy Lights Championship (2001) and was Rookie of the Year in both series.

--www.danwheldon.com

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Dario Franchitti , Dan Wheldon
Teams Panther Racing