IRL: Team Penske weekly notes 2002-02-11

Marlboro Team Penske Participates In Test In The West Last week, Marlboro Team Penske had the opportunity to participate in the Indy Racing League's "Test in the West" at California Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway. The three-day test...

Marlboro Team Penske Participates In Test In The West

Last week, Marlboro Team Penske had the opportunity to participate in the Indy Racing League's "Test in the West" at California Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway. The three-day test session allowed the Team to test with other entrants of the 2002 IRL season.

On February 6th, Marlboro Team Penske spent the day testing at California Speedway. The day was a good warm-up for the Team in preparation for the race on March 24th at the two-mile superspeedway. Marlboro Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves and Gil de Ferran finished the day with the fifth and ninth fastest lap times respectively. The first day of testing provided the Team with a great opportunity to learn more about the new equipment as well as to test with all of the other drivers.

Castroneves On The Test At California Speedway

"It's definitely different being out here in IRL cars," said Castroneves on testing at California Speedway. "There is a totally different line that you take, especially coming out of traffic. I'm just learning like everybody else. I believe I'm going to learn all season long because some of the tracks that we've been running on with the CART cars are totally different when you go with IRL cars. We're just starting the season and it's a lot like 2000 with all-new equipment. The big difference now is that we know the Team, and they know us so that's a big plus."

De Ferran On The Test At California Speedway

"I'm certainly looking forward to the 2002 season," de Ferran says. "There is certainly one thing that is transpiring through all this testing that we're doing in the winter, and that's how much we don't know, how much we need to learn, and how much we need to push to try to understand the equipment and everything that we have. As far as high expectations go, certainly you don't enter any race or any championship if you don't feel you have a chance at succeeding. So, certainly we would like to win races and have hopes for the championship. However, it's a very steep mountain for us to climb, and we have to take it one step at a time. Right now, we're really just trying to understand the requirements of each race track, which has been a big challenge. The Open Test gave us the opportunity to prepare for the upcoming race here (California Speedway) on March 24th."

Marlboro Team Penske Concludes Test In The West In Phoenix

After the test session at California Speedway last week, Marlboro Team Penske and a number of other IRL teams headed to Phoenix to participate in two more days of testing at Phoenix International Raceway.

The test proved to be productive for Marlboro Team Penske as they topped the lap charts on Friday, February 8th with de Ferran holding the fastest lap time (20.0407 seconds) and teammate Castroneves 0.0345 seconds behind (20.0752 seconds).

On Saturday, Marlboro Team Penske was once again near the top of the leader board, with Castroneves registering the second-fastest lap time (20.1039 seconds) behind defending IRL Champion Sam Hornish, Jr. (20.0219 seconds). De Ferran was just a fraction of a second off of his teammate's time and finished with the third fastest time of the day (20.1369 seconds).

Castroneves On The Test In Phoenix

"Overall, the test went well," Castroneves remarked. "We made changes to the Marlboro car during the first session, which improved the balance. We were able to work on the race setup and long runs with full tanks. We're making progress, and I'm looking forward to racing in Phoenix next month. Hopefully we learned what we need to put us in a good position come race weekend."

De Ferran On The Test In Phoenix

"It was a very good test for Marlboro Team Penske," said de Ferran. "We were able to build on our experience from previous tests and spent the two days working on general handling characteristics. We worked on both qualifying and race trim, and we're relatively happy with both. We're trying really hard to understand what we need to do to be fast right out of the box. We did our homework, and hopefully we'll be competitive race weekend."

De Ferran In Miami For Media Day

Gil de Ferran will be in Miami on Wednesday, February 20th for a media day in preparation for the season-opening Grand Prix of Miami, February 28th - March 2nd. In addition, de Ferran will be attending a media luncheon at Hardaways Firehouse Four beginning at noon. For more information, please call Phil de Montmollin at (305) 230-5249.

Penske To Be Inducted Into The Auto Racing Hall Of Fame

Roger Penske, along with fellow autoracing legends Andy Granatelli and the late Sid Collins will be honored in Indianapolis on May 17th when they will be inducted into the Auto Racing Hall of Fame; which honors drivers, car owners, mechanics and event officials who have made significant contributions to the success and colorful history of the sport. The event will take place in conjunction with the Indianapolis 500 Oldtimers Club Banquet.


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Roger Penske , Sam Hornis
Teams Team Penske