PKV eyes move up the Champ Car grid
PKV Racing showed it will be a team to content with in 2007 by topping the speed charts during the final day of the Champ Car open test at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida.
Oriol Servia, driving the #22 Gulfstream/Bell Micro PKV Racing Cosworth/Panoz/Bridgestone car, recorded the fastest time of the day, and in fact of the three days of open testing, clocking a quick time of 50.741 seconds (118.413 mph) on the 1.66-mile Sebring short course. Champ Car Rookie Neel Jani notched the second fastest time of the day, and the third fastest of the open test, piloting the #21 Red Bull PKV Racing Cosworth/Panoz/Bridgestone machine to a fast lap of 50.904 seconds (118.034 mph). Both drivers recorded their quick laps during the afternoon practice after steady rain limited on-track action in the morning.
“We are very pleased with the new Champ Car and the progress we made over the three days of testing at Sebring,” PKV Racing General Manager Mark Johnson said. “The entire team did an outstanding job. We collected a lot of data and learned quite a bit,” he noted. “The next step is to analyze the data and prepare a program for the Houston test in February.”
Servia, who drove for PKV Racing last season, but is unsigned for the 2007, was substituting for Jimmy Vasser. Commenting on the test the 32-year-old Spaniard said, “Obviously I am very happy with today’s result. In the morning the PKV Racing team did some work in the rain to shake the car down and test some systems. Later it got dry, so we were able to put together some very fast laps.”
Servia went on to say, “I want to thank the whole PKV Racing team for giving me the opportunity to test today. I really enjoyed working with the team again and I enjoyed working with Neel. He is obviously very talented. Hopefully, I will get the opportunity to work with him again because I believe we could be very successful together.”
Jani, who signed with the team earlier in the week, completed his first test at Sebring. The 23-yer-old native of Jens, Switzerland, who has been a member of the Red Bull driver development program since 2005, spent the 2006 season as a test driver for the Scuderia Toro Rosso Formula 1 team while competing in four GP2 races plus four A1 GP events taking the win and finishing fourth in Malaysia.
Vasser, a co-owner of PKV Racing, tested the first two days at Sebring in an effort to help the team acquired additional data as well as help Jani through the Champ Car learning curve. Vasser, who last drove a Champ Car at Long Beach Grand Prix on April 9, 2006 left following the second day of testing to prepare for the 24 Hours at Daytona. Servia will also be competing at Daytona.
Next up for PKV Racing will be the Champ Car open test in Houston, Texas, February 12-13. PKV Racing PR