Porsche Pirelli Supercup, Ferrari Challenge cars busy testing at Indy

INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, Sept. 11, 2000 - Two Porsche Pirelli Supercup cars and a Ferrari Challenge car tested today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for the inaugural SAP United States Grand Prix on Sept. 22-24. German...

INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, Sept. 11, 2000 - Two Porsche Pirelli Supercup cars and a Ferrari Challenge car tested today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for the inaugural SAP United States Grand Prix on Sept. 22-24. German drivers Timo Bernhard and Lucas Luhr tested Porsches on the 2.606-mile road circuit today. Ralf Kelleners tested a Ferrari. Both series will conduct support races at Indianapolis during the Formula One Grand Prix. Race one of the Porsche Pirelli Supercup will take place at 3 p.m. (EST) Saturday, Sept. 23 with race two at 9:20 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 24. The Ferrari Challenge race starts at 10:50 a.m. Sunday. Bernhard, a 19-year-old Porsche factory driver, became the first driver to test a racecar on the new road course when he took a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car around the track Aug. 26. "I think the track is really good," Bernhard said Monday. "It's special because of the banking in Turns 12 and 13. There is no other track like it." Turn 12 of the road circuit occurs where the infield road circuit re-enters the oval in Turn 2 of the oval. Turn 13 of the road circuit is Turn 1 of the oval. Both turns are banked at 9 degrees. The sequence of Turns 12 and 13, then sweeping onto the main straightaway, is the fastest section of the course. "The first time was special," said Bernhard. "The turns are so fast, you've got to have a brave heart to go through it fast. Then the mainstreach is so long. It's the biggest track I've ever been on. It is so huge, and it's incredible how many people they can fit in here." Luhr was the 1999 champion in the Porsche Carrera Cup, a German series in which drivers compete in cars that are of identical specification. Luhr now competes in the American Le Mans Series, where he has won three races this year driving for Dick Barbour Racing. Bernhard is second in points in this year's Carrera Cup, with two wins. "I really like the track," said Luhr. "It has everything in it, fast banking and fast straights. I think for F1 they have a chance to pass, which is good for the fans." Coming from Europe, Bernhard and Luhr both know of European drivers like Scotland's Jim Clark, who won the Indianapolis 500 in 1965, and Englishman Graham Hill, who won in 1966. More recently, Holland's Arie Luyendyk won the "500" in 1990 and 1997. "I'd like to come back and race the Indy 500 someday," said Bernhard. "It's got so much history, it's a great event. When I'm home and not racing I watch the IRL races on Eurosport, and they are very competitive." Also knowing the mystique and history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Luhr took a stroll up pit lane early Monday morning. "The first thing I did when I got here was go up to the old tarmac (the yard of bricks). I knelt down and kissed them." Early in the day during Ferrari Challenge testing, Kelleners spun and made light contact with the barrier between turns 11 and 12. Kelleners was uninjured, but the damage to his car prevented further testing.

-IRNLS/IMS-

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Series Road racing
Drivers Ralf Kelleners , Arie Luyendyk , Lucas Luhr , Jim Clark , Dick Barbour , Timo Bernhard , Graham Hill