SEBRING, FLA. (March 15, 2004) - The 2004 Cooper Tires Championship Series season got underway today, with pre-event testing at Sebring International Raceway. In preparation for Rounds One and Two of the Formula Ford Zetec Championship and the...
SEBRING, FLA. (March 15, 2004) - The 2004 Cooper Tires Championship Series season got underway today, with pre-event testing at Sebring International Raceway.
In preparation for Rounds One and Two of the Formula Ford Zetec Championship and the Formula SCCA Championship, the Cooper Series had three half-hour test sessions on Monday. Under cloudy, but warm conditions, 29 cars took to the 3.7-mile road course. Grouped together, the majority of the Zetec Championship and Formula SCCA drivers used the early morning session to become familiarized with the track and their cars. The session ended early, when the red flag was shown late in the session for two cars off-course. Posting the fastest unofficial lap in the session was Bobby Wilson, of Dousman, Wis., with a lap of 2:05.750 (105.924 MPH). Posting the fastest time in Formula SCCA was Jonathan Klein, of Long Grove, Ill., with a lap of 2:11.256 (101.481 MPH).
Run right before the lunch break, the second session featured slightly warmer conditions. Beginning to work on race setups, many of the drivers made several stops during the session. As in the first session, testing was briefly halted for cars off-course. At the checkered flag, Wilson, driving for defending Sebring race winners Cape Motorsports, had posted the fastest lap, 2:05.680 (105.983 MPH). Posting the fastest Formula SCCA time, was Franklin Futrelle, of Augusta, Ga., who posted a time of 2:11.546 (101.257 MPH).
The final test session was run late in the day, with the wind steadily increasing throughout the session. At the checkered flag, Andersen Walko Racing drivers Andrew Prendeville and Klein had posted the fastest laps of the session and the day. A. Prendeville, of Monroeville, Pa., posted a fast lap 2:05.429 (106.196 MPH), while Klein, posted a lap of 2:11.425 (101.351 MPH).
"It was great to get back in the car after a long off-season," said A. Prendeville. "I'm pleased with how things went and look forward to the rest of the weekend, but I know we have to keep working."
"The car was great right off the trailer," said Klein. "I'm sure we can get more speed out of both the car and myself."
Both the Zetec Championship and the Formula SCCA continue pre-event testing Tuesday, with two additional half-hour test sessions. The inaugural event for the Cooper Tires Championship Series officially gets underway, Tuesday, March 16, 2004, at 5:15 p.m. (ET) with Formula SCCA qualifying for Round One. The Zetec Championship will have qualifying for Round One, Wednesday, March 17, 2004 at 8:00 a.m. (ET).
Widely regarded as North America's premier training series, the Cooper Tires Championship Series offers the complete motorsports education, with emphasis on cost-effective racing. Racing throughout the United States and Canada, the Cooper Series showcases the best young drivers from around the world on a challenging mix of racetracks.