IRL: Team Penske Pit Notes 2002-01-16

Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes January 16, 2003 Nigel Beresford named Technical Director of Penske Cars. Nick Goozee, Managing Director of Penske Cars, Ltd., announced that Nigel Beresford has been named Technical Director. In his new role,...

Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes
January 16, 2003

Nigel Beresford named Technical Director of Penske Cars.

Nick Goozee, Managing Director of Penske Cars, Ltd., announced that Nigel Beresford has been named Technical Director. In his new role, Beresford will be responsible for overseeing diverse engineering projects involving Penske Racing and Penske Cars, and liaising with the Team's technical partners.

Beresford, 44, first joined Penske Racing in 1992 when he worked as race engineer for Rick Mears. During the 1993 and 1994 seasons he worked as race engineer for Paul Tracy scoring eight wins and six poles. When Tracy left the Team at the end of the 1994 season, Beresford moved back to England and resumed his Formula One career with Team Tyrrell.

Beresford returned to Marlboro Team Penske in 1996 and was named Head of Engineering at Penske Cars, Ltd. at the start of the 1997 season.

Prior to joining Penske, Beresford had worked for the Tyrrell Formula One Team since 1986 under the direction of Dr. Harvey Postlethwaite. Initially employed as a design engineer, he also spent a period managing the wind tunnel testing program before becoming race engineer for Jonathan Palmer in 1989. He was transferred to Jean Alesi's car for 1990 (scoring second places in Phoenix and Monaco) and worked with Stefano Modena in 1991 (placing second at the Canadian Grand Prix). When he returned to Tyrrell in 1995, he was named Operations Manager, responsible for the preparation and durability of the race cars for the two-car team.


Two-time CART Champion Gil de Ferran and teammate, two-time Indianapolis 500-Mile Race winner Helio Castroneves return to Marlboro Team Penske for their fourth consecutive season piloting the familiar red and white #6 and #3 cars. While it may appear that the two are behind the wheel of the same machine they burst onto the IRL circuit with last year, the 2003 racing package is quite different.

On March 2, at the season-opening Toyota 300 at Homestead Miami Speedway, both drivers will find themselves at the helm of a brand new vehicle. Aside from the redesigned Dallara chassis, the primary change to the package comes with the all-new 2003 Toyota Indy V8 engine. Not only will the 2003 IRL season mark the debut of the Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota, but it will also mark Toyota's first foray into the IRL.

With the start of a new season, comes a whole new set of challenges and both de Ferran and Castroneves have defined goals which they plan to address as soon as the green flag drops at the Miami race:

"We are approaching this season with the same mindset as we have the past three seasons," said de Ferran. Although it's nice that we have one full year in the IRL under our belts, there are still a few more unknowns with the new engine and chassis, and while we have high hopes for the season, we won't know where we stand until the first race. I've enjoyed working with Toyota quite a bit; it's been fun participating in the engine's development. Hopefully we'll be able to earn the highest honors this season.

"There is an impressive list of drivers and teams joining the IRL IndyCar Series this year, which is very good for the competition," de Ferran continued. "The IndyCar Series is unique in that there are really two components of the Championship campaign - first and foremost, I'd like to win the Championship, but there's also the Indianapolis 500, which of course, is like winning a Championship in itself. I'm very much looking forward to the beginning of the season."

"I think my biggest goals of the season are simple," explains Castroneves. "I would love to be able to win the Indianapolis 500 for a third consecutive time and I'd like to finish the Championship just one place above where I finished last year (Castroneves finished second in the 2002 IRL Championship point standings). I'm still looking for my first Championship and it would be wonderful if I could win this year and earn a 12th National Championship for the Team. We will really have to focus and work hard this season so that we can get the new chassis and engine package down. In addition, the competition will be very tough this year, so we must maintain our concentration for all 16 races and hopefully we'll earn that title."


De Ferran and Castroneves head to Indianapolis next week to receive their mandatory physical examinations from Dr. Henry Bock, Director of Medical Services for the IRL. In addition to an extensive eye exam and blood-screening test, each driver will have an electrocardiogram so that, if they crash during the season, they can measure any possible damage done to the heart and chest wall. The drivers will also be fitted for special earplugs complete with accelerometers, which measure head motion. Each driver is required to wear these for the 2003 IRL season.

Aside from the physical exam, each driver must undergo the Impact Test, developed at the University of Pittsburgh. The test measures various cognitive functions such as how the driver thinks and his reaction time. The IRL uses this initial test to compare against a test conducted after the driver sustains a crash to help evaluate the driver's physical and mental condition.


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jean Alesi , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Paul Tracy , Rick Mears , Stefano Modena , Jonathan Palmer
Teams Team Penske , Team Penske