Champ Car Test

February 5, 2008 – Orlando, FL- Had the opportunity to attend pre-season
test of the Champ Car World Series last weekend in Sebring. For the
CCWS it was a very quiet off-season until this week. The 2008 line-up
started to get into focus with Newman-Haas-Lanigan Racing signing Justin
Wilson to be Graham Rahal’s teammate. Justin was very happy to be there
and looked forward to be in the number 1 car. There will be a new car
chief on the number 1 car as longtime Newman-Haas-Lanigan Racing
employee Tim Coffen will move into that spot.

Look for some of the regulars to be back as Paul Tracy returns to
Forsythe/Petit Racing and Bruno Junquiera will be back with Dale Coyne
Racing. Oriol Servia, will be the lead driver at PKV Racing. Enrique
Bernoldi signed a deal with Rocketsports and Frank Montagny will be
Tracy’s teammate at Forsythe/Petit. Frank was fast right out of the box
and lead first day testing. Fourteen cars answered the bell for

Looks like it could be very interesting year for CCWS and we could have
some good racing, however, with the car count still dominating the
message boards and conversations between the Champ Car faithful, the
series needs to keep drivers for a couple of years to have some
continuity. It’s frustrating seeing new, unknown drivers when quality
drivers that run out of money lose their seats. The days of Michael
Andretti, Christiano da Matta, Gil de Ferran, and Paul Tracy battling
are over.

I ran into Nelson Philippe, who is one driver that should have a ride.
Here is kid that started in Champ Car at age 18, an extremely raw
driver, he gained experience and proven he could win and they let him
go. He told me he was close to an ALMS deal and still has a desire to
race in Champ Car, but money is an issue. Second-generation driver,
Graham Rahal was excited about the season and was looking forward to his
second season with Newman-Haas-Lanigan Racing.

Fresh from Mazda’s victory in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona in the GT
class, John Doonan of Mazda Motorsports was at the ALMS test last week
at Sebring. Doonan definitely has a full plate, the Motorsports Team
Development Manager for Mazda North America, was at Sebring to assist in
unveiling the new sponsor for Mazda’s P2 ALMS entry which is BP, the
petroleum company. Doonan says Mazda is ready to challenge the
Porsche’s and Acura’s at Sebring, even with their diminutive budget.
Doonan also is involved in the Star-Mazda Series.

Gordon Kirby is reporting on that Christiano da Matta
will be testing a Daytona Prototype for Bob Stallings GAINSCO Grand-Am
team in March.

Here are the speed charts for the CCWS Test from Sebring

Times from Day 2 of Sebring open test (pos., driver name, team, lap
time, mph, total laps for the two days):

1- Franck Montagny, #7 Forsythe/Pettit Racing, 50.209 seconds,
119.668 mph, 183 laps
2- Justin Wilson, #1 Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, 50.448 seconds,
119.101 mph, 200 laps
3- Graham Rahal, #2 Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, 50.474 seconds,
119.040 mph, 179 laps
4- Franck Perera, #24 Conquest Racing, 50.495 seconds, 118.990
mph, 150 laps
5- Oriol Servia, #22 PKV Racing, 50.505 seconds, 118.966 mph, 212
6- Alex Tagliani, #21 PKV Racing, 50.594 seconds, 118.757 mph, 214
7- Alex Figge, #29 Pacific Coast Motorsports, 50.707 seconds,
118.493 mph, 176 laps
8- Simon Pagenaud, #34 Conquest Racing, 50.792 seconds, 118.294
mph, 139 laps
9- Paul Tracy, #3 Forsythe/Pettit Racing, 50.892 seconds, 118.062
mph, 127 laps
10- Bruno Junqueira, #19 Dale Coyne Racing, 51.122 seconds, 117.531
mph, 171 laps
11- Ernesto Viso, #4 Minardi Team USA, 51.295 seconds, 117.134 mph,
143 laps
12- Enrique Bernoldi, #8 Rocketsports Racing, 51.313 seconds, 117.093
mph, 197 laps
13- Mario Moraes, #11 Dale Coyne Racing, 51.346 seconds, 117.018 mph,
180 laps
14- David Martinez, #28 Pacific Coast Motorsports, 51.432 seconds,
116.822 mph, 203 laps

The Champ Car World Series will continue its pre-season testing at Mazda
Raceway Laguna Seca March 13-14.

Final combined times from Sebring open test (pos., driver name, team,
lap time, mph, total laps for the two days):

1- Franck Perera, #24 Conquest Racing, 49.806 seconds, 120.636
mph, 205 laps
2- Graham Rahal, #2 Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, 49.950 seconds,
120.288 mph, 238 laps
3- Alex Tagliani, #21 PKV Racing, 50.173 seconds, 119.754 mph, 281
4- Oriol Servia, #22 PKV Racing, 50.178 seconds, 119.742 mph, 288
5- Justin Wilson, #1 Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, 50.207 seconds,
119.673 mph, 269 laps
6- Franck Montagny, #7 Forsythe/Pettit Racing, 50.209 seconds,
119.668 mph, 207 laps
7- Bruno Junqueira, #19 Dale Coyne Racing, 50.507 seconds, 118.962
mph, 247 laps
8- Alex Figge, #29 Pacific Coast Motorsports, 50.521 seconds,
118.929 mph, 247 laps
9- Simon Pagenaud, #34 Conquest Racing, 50.702 seconds, 118.504
mph, 186 laps
10- Enrique Bernoldi, #8 Rocketsports Racing, 50.714 seconds, 118.476
mph, 255 laps
11- Paul Tracy, #3 Forsythe/Pettit Racing, 50.732 seconds, 118.434
mph, 179 laps
12- David Martinez, #28 Pacific Coast Motorsports, 50.736 seconds,
118.425 mph, 255 laps
13- Ernesto Viso, #4 Minardi Team USA, 50.800 seconds, 118.276 mph,
164 laps
14- Mario Moraes, #11 Dale Coyne Racing, 50.930 seconds, 117.974 mph,
241 laps

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