Champ Car newbie’s ready for season opener
The inaugural Vegas Grand Prix, round one of the 2007 Champ Car World Series season is just around the corner and after several months of 15-hour work days, the new team in Champ Car, Pacific Coast Motorsports is ready!
PCM wrapped their final pre-season test on Saturday at Champ Car’s Spring Preview at the historic Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway. The event started with media day on Thursday where PCM introduced their team and colors to the media at their official unveiling at the beautiful new Red Bull Energy Center at the raceway. Team director Tyler Tadevic spoke to the media “We are thrilled to be a part of Champ Car.
There are a lot of motorsports options in the U.S. and we made this decision very carefully. We feel Champ Car is the most commercially viable choice for us, with the best level of competition. The new car proves the ownership group has made a long-term commitment and we are confident we made the right choice, we intend to have a long and successful future in the Champ Car arena.” Tadevic continued, “Making this a reality in such a short amount of time has been a massive effort by everyone at PCM, but we did it and we are ready to go. We are realistic with our goal as a new team with two new drivers and a new car, in an extremely competitive series but we intend to run near the top-ten by the end of the first season.”
The press conference led to the unveiling of the PCM Champ Car’s. Alex Figge’s black #29 Panoz features red accents while Ryan Dalziel’s silver #28 car features yellow accents. PCM hosted a lunch for the media where they watched Ryan and Alex debut the Panoz on the Laguna Seca circuit with a few exhibition laps.
Friday and Saturday featured two full-days of on-track testing. It was imperative for Ryan and Alex to maximize the track-time as the previous two tests were impaired by weather. Mother Nature provided two days of sunshine and Alex and Ryan logged 301-miles. Figge commented “it was a very important test for me as the first two were not as productive as we had hoped. We got some miles in, which was great, but we certainly have a lot to learn. Laguna Seca is a tough place, we’re young and we just have to keep working at it…it’s the only way to learn. “
Team mate Ryan Dalziel echoed Figge’s comments, “it was a difficult test, and I didn’t get quite as many laps as I had hoped for, we are learning a lot and have a steep hill in front of us, but we are going to keep giving it our best. My guys are working as hard as they can and I appreciate their commitment. Our pitstops were great; we just need to keep working on figuring out these cars.”
PCM may be the new squad in the paddock, but the 2004 Atlantic Champions had a strong foundation in place and have added to it with an experienced group that features a lot of familiar faces. Led by team manager Michael Harvey, the crew has multiple Champ Car and Atlantic championships between them. “The workload the last few months has been arduous for sure, but we have a dedicated group with a lot of experience, we brought four cars to this test and ran all four, which is a testament to our guys. They just finished building the spare cars; we ran them primarily the last-two days without any troubles. We worked diligently through a lot of different scenarios over this test. We found it challenging but successful for sure. It is a challenging circuit for a new team with these demanding cars, but the drivers did a fantastic job, they never put a wheel-off and we definitely learned a lot,” said Harvey. The team has a rolling Lola in their race shop which they use for pit-stop practice, but this test gave the group their first opportunity to practice live-stops with their rookie drivers. “Alex and Ryan both have a lot of pit-stop experience from their last two years racing sports cars. But, the Champ Car is a different beast and we have a new combination of people working together. We spent quite a bit of time practicing stops over the test and I think we’ve got a very talented group of guys going over the wall. The entire team did a great job, their adrenaline is high, and we are all very excited for Vegas!”