IRL: Red Bull Cheever Racing completes first test of New Year

Team Continues Search for Second Driver LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Jan. 23, 2002) -The Red Bull Cheever Racing crew completed their first test of 2002 at the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Jan. 21 and 22. "The purpose of this test was two-fold,"...

Team Continues Search for Second Driver

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Jan. 23, 2002) -The Red Bull Cheever Racing crew completed their first test of 2002 at the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Jan. 21 and 22.

"The purpose of this test was two-fold," said General Manager Richard Caron. "First to continue our testing program with Eddie, in preparation for the 2002 Indy Racing League championship, and second to hold our final evaluations of drivers for the No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Infiniti."

Tomas Scheckter, a 21-year-old racer from South Africa, joins Jeff Ward, Buddy Rice, and Dan Wheldon as drivers that have tested for the coveted second seat at Cheever Indy Racing.

Tomas, the son of 1979 Formula One World Champion Jody Scheckter, passed his Indy Racing League rookie test by completing 85 laps, and reaching a top average speed of 210.7 mph. His unofficial speed was several miles per hour faster than the pole position (208.502 mph) for the last IRL race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in April 2000.

"The first few sessions were unbelievable with the g-forces I felt," said Scheckter about his first oval track experience. "Driving an average speed of over 200 miles per hour was a great feeling, similar to a roller coaster. I got used to the feeling pretty quickly, and with guidance from Eddie, was able to do some good lap times. The team was very professional. Hopefully they feel as good about the test as I do."

Currently the runner-up in the European Formula Nissan championship, Scheckter spent part of last year as a test driver for the Jaguar Racing Formula One team. His racing resume also includes championship titles in go-karts and the European Opel Lotus series, and second in the 2000 British F3 standings with two victories.

In addition to monitoring Scheckter's rookie test, team owner Eddie Cheever Jr. drove 35 laps during the two-day test, focusing on engine development with the Infiniti Indy 35A.

"The proverb, the apple does not fall far from the tree, is very much the case with the Scheckter family," said Eddie Cheever Jr., owner and driver, Red Bull Cheever Racing. "Jody was a phenomenal driver, and Tomas is following in his footsteps. He didn't miss a beat and was very methodical in his approach."

Cheever Indy Racing will announce the driver of the No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Infiniti during a press conference at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum at 10 a.m. (EST), Feb. 1. The new colors of the Red Bull Cheever Racing cars will also be unveiled at the event.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Eddie Cheever , Jeff Ward , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Jody Scheckter
Teams Jaguar Racing