Power Packed Champ Cars for Lexmark Indy 300 The first major coup of the 2007 International motorsport season has been achieved by the Champ Car World Series, with three-time reigning champion Sebastien Bourdais shattering the existing Formula One lap record, during a recent official test day at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California.
If the outright speed and power of the new Panoz DP01 Champ Car being utilized in the 2007 Champ Car World Series is any indication, fans of the Lexmark Indy 300 on Australia’s Gold Coast are in for a Power-Packed program of racing events come October 18-21.
‘Spring Training’ saw some amazing driving feats around the 3.602km road course, which was headlined by Bourdais’ topping of the timesheets with a scintillating 1:05.880 run.
That effort was enough for the Frenchman to better the Formula One lap record of 1:06.309 set by Ricardo Zonta in a Toyota TF106 last year.
“From all accounts the aerodynamics in cornering and the overall grip and handling of the Panoz are far superior to all previous Champ Car models and at this early stage that’s a great advertisement for the Series and in particular the 17th Lexmark Indy 300 on the Gold Coast later in the year,” said Lexmark Indy 300 General Manager Greg Hooton.
“It wasn’t just Bourdais dialing in a competitive package with Gold Coast pole-sitter from last year, Team Australia’s Will Power only a shade outside the record and about half a second behind the leader.
“A week and a half ago we saw a dynamic start to the Australian V8 Supercars and now great anticipation also surrounds the start of the Champ Car World Series at Las Vegas on April 6-8.
“Of course both formats traditionally crank it up a gear during the Lexmark Indy 300 so we see current developments as signaling just the start of bigger things to come on October 18-21.
“Ticket sales are now in full swing so we encourage fans to book their seats and ‘Power On’ during the Lexmark Indy 300.”
Champ Car drivers will also be aided this season by a new paddle shift-operated gearbox that is part of the new Panoz DP01 Champ Car.
That variable further qualifies the likelihood of drivers smashing existing Champ Car lap records at established venues, which include the picturesque 4.57km Surfers Paradise street circuit.
The current Lexmark Indy 300 record of 1:30.036 was set by 2001 race winner Cristiano da Matta in 2002.
Team Australia’s Will Power clocked the second quickest time of 1:06.424 at ‘Spring Training’ and is now champing at the bit for a season start, plus a return Down Under for his home event later in the year.
“Overall the team has done a great job and we really are in a position this year to go after the championship. A major part of that will be doing the job on the Gold Coast later in the season,” confirmed Power.
“I think on our last run at Spring Training we got the car just about right, but there was a red flag so we didn’t really have a shot at it (the Formula 1 lap record) and Bourdais was the only one that was able to get a lap in.
“It was a good test overall, we were second quickest and the team is working really well. We are understanding the car and making it better with every session.”
The Team Australia phenomenon is set to further grow in the lead up to the Lexmark Indy 300 as Power’s French team mate, Simon Pagenaud was also able to finish inside the top five rounding out a solid pre-season test for the team.