IRL: Honda Test in the West notes 2003-02-04

The Andretti Green Racing duo of Tony Kanaan and Dario Franchitti led the way today for Honda as the company's new IRL IndyCar Series program made its public debut at the pre-season "Test in the West" at California Speedway. The test session,...

The Andretti Green Racing duo of Tony Kanaan and Dario Franchitti led the way today for Honda as the company's new IRL IndyCar Series program made its public debut at the pre-season "Test in the West" at California Speedway. The test session, which is open to the public, will continue later this week at Phoenix International Raceway in Arizona.

Kanaan's best lap of 222.547 mph just shaded his teammate by two-thousandths of a second as both men prepare for their first season of IndyCar competition. Meanwhile, Team Rahal's Kenny Brack ended the day just outside the top 10, setting his best speed of 220.717 mph in the morning practice session.

Michael Andretti ran only a handful of laps for photographic purposes then reverted to his dual role as team owner in assisting Kanaan, Franchitti and newcomer Dan Wheldon. Another series rookie, Roger Yasukawa, had his day cut short by a pair of minor mechanical problems aboard his Super Aguri Fernandez Racing Honda.

Tony Kanaan (#11 Andretti Green Honda) 3rd fastest: "We came here expecting to just 'run'. It was the first test for the entire team to operate together. So I have to be pretty pleased with today's result, even though my quick lap was the result of a 'tow'. But today was only my fourth time in this type of car, so it was mostly a learning experience for me today. And of course it helped to have Michael [Andretti] around. He was a big help in learning about these cars and this type of racing."

Robert Clarke (General Manager, Honda Performance Development): "Overall, we're pleased with today's results. It appears we're in a good, competitive position for the start of the season, and that will enable us to focus on the small details. The overall engine design seems to be good, it is durable and robust. Now, we can concentrate on 'driver tuning' areas such as driveability, fuel economy, a 'soft' rev limiter and the pit-lane speed limiter. We're pretty much where we hoped to be at this point in the season."

-honda-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Kenny Brack , Dan Wheldon , Roger Yasukawa , Robert Clark