John Walko Racing VIR test summary

Varying Conditions at VIR Perfect for Final Preparations TRAFFORD, PA (February 23, 2007) -- Perfect conditions to the average person typically conjures up images of sunny skies and warm weather. However, words such as typical and average ...

Varying Conditions at VIR Perfect for Final Preparations

TRAFFORD, PA (February 23, 2007) -- Perfect conditions to the average person typically conjures up images of sunny skies and warm weather. However, words such as typical and average aren't usually used to describe racers in general and certainly not the John Walko Racing team in particular.

For JWR perfect conditions in pre season testing can involve everything from warm weather to pouring rain to near freezing temperatures. Each situation faced, and the changes made to adapt to those situations, helps to build a bigger database to refer to once the season starts.

According to team owner John Walko dealing with these scenarios is always good for the team and the drivers but facing those conditions at Virginia International Raceway was particularly helpful.

"The rain and the cold weather aren't perfect conditions to work in obviously but the data that we gain from these types of tests in very significant. And with the Star Mazda Series returning to VIR to race in the spring, we could face any of these situations again. Not only will we have very pertinent data to deal with most any weather condition but Charles and Russell both have seen the track in the best and worst of conditions. When coming to race at a track for the first time, like we will with VIR later this year, that knowledge in invaluable."

Despite being cold and wet trackside during the final day of the test, Walko explained that the most difficult aspect of the trip to VIR didn't even involve being at the track.

"The most challenging part of the test was the ride home between ice storms, closed roads and black ice conditions. The test itself went smooth though. We started out on the North course and moved to the full course at the end of the day and just ran lots of laps. Both Charles and Russell turned more than 225 miles on the first day in fact."

With two cars secure for the season, the team looks toward Sebring and the start of their quest to repeat as Team Champions. The cars have returned to the shop finally and are in the process of being disassembled and painted before final preparations are made for the opening round. JWR has a third car that will remain in testing trim for at least a little while longer though as Walko noted.

"We have our third car ready to run still and will be testing with it again at VIR soon. We not only want to defend our title in 2007 but also compete for individual wins and championships as well. Running a third car for the entire season helps all of those efforts and is something we want to have put together soon so we can concentrate on having three cars and three drivers ready for Sebring."

JWR's next stop is March 1st at Virginia International Raceway followed by Round One of the Star Mazda Championship which takes place during the 54th Annual 12 Hours of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway.

Team Quotes

Steve Dreizler, Engineer for Charles Anti:

"We had a good test, both cars generated more than 200 miles of dry weather testing on the first day; the second day the weather went down hill so we utilized the situation for some wet weather testing. It was important in the sense that we could get them out and see where there was standing water or where water runs across the track. It rains a lot there so that will be good knowledge to have when we come back to VIR to race. Both guys were sharp out of the trailer as well and from my perspective it was good to get back in the saddle and get back to work. We went through two different setups on the cars, two different programs, and from that standpoint we got a lot of video and a lot of data to crunch to put together a plan for the race."

Eric Langbein, Engineer for Russell Walker:

"We are continuing to get ready for the season. Right now the most important thing for our team is to be able to hit the ground running at Sebring. We want to be at speed immediately when the season starts. It is important for the drivers to get to the new tracks on the schedule too; that was what made VIR so important even this early in the year."

Russell Walker:

"The first day was pretty good but the second day we nearly had to cancel because of snow. On the first day though we got up to speed very quickly, and ran the big track towards the end of the day. Good dry weather testing, good times, no problems with the car; it was a great dry weather test. I had to bundle up the second day and come in to warm up my hands and feet every few laps but it was still productive to get another wet test in before heading to Sebring.

Charles Anti:

"It went pretty well, it was good to get on the full track at VIR. In this car it was my first time on the full track but I actually raced there with the Skip Barber series. First day was great, they opened up the full track for the last half of the day and we were as quick as last year's testing right away. The second day wasn't that bad really. I like the wet. When I wake up and see cloudy skies and wet grounds, I'm happy."

Virginia International Raceway will play host once again to JWR for another test leading up to the season opening race at Sebring. Opportunities are still available to join the 2006 Star Mazda Team Champions at the upcoming test and also for the 2007 season.

-credit: jwr

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About this article
Series Pro Mazda
Drivers Skip Barber , Russell Walker , Charles Anti , Eric Lang