Minardi F1x2 made its debut in Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA -- The Minardi F1x2 Team this past weekend did what all good acts do in the home of glitz and kitsch -- entertained the crowds. In this case, the crowds were in the grandstands of the Las Vegas Grand Prix rather than at the shows in the nearby casinos, but the reception from the audience was similarly enthusiastic.
Running in one of the more amazing locations encountered during its seven-year history, the Minardi two-seater team made its North American debut at the opening round of this year's Champ Car World Series season, providing 30 frequently shell-shocked passengers with the closest and fastest view of the challenging, 2.44-mile (3.926- km) street circuit imaginable.
Among the celebrities to ride in the F1x2 cars during the course of the action-packed, three-day festival of speed were actresses Tiffani Thiessen-Smith of Beverley Hills 90210, Michelle Rodriguez, who starred in Resident Evil and The Fast and the Furious, and Kathryn Morris, from Cold Case.
Minardi F1x2 drivers Zsolt Baumgartner and Patrick Friesacher thoroughly enjoyed their first visit to Las Vegas, Baumgartner commenting, "I think it's been a lot of fun for both the drivers and the passengers here in Las Vegas. As Patrick and I gained experience of the track, we were able to push a little harder, and judging by the reactions from our passengers, each of them experienced a pretty unforgettable moment. We were well received by the crowd, and the race-day fans, in particular, seemed really enthusiastic. We're now looking forward to the Long Beach Champ Car event, next weekend, and although I've never been there, I can imagine there will be a great atmosphere."
Friesacher was similarly enthusiastic. "It's been great having the two-seater here in Las Vegas -- it's an amazing city," he said. "It's also been great driving the cars again, particularly since I've always loved street circuits. This is quite a fast track, and the walls are close in places, so I think the passengers were able to get a good feeling for what it is like to race in this sort of environment. It certainly sounded like it from where I was sitting anyway!"
Summing up the event, Minardi F1x2 Team Principal, Paul Stoddart, said, "We couldn't have wished for a better start to our Champ Car two-seater program than we experienced here in Las Vegas this weekend. I am extremely pleased we have finally been able to introduce the two-seater cars and drivers to a North American audience. It's something we've wanted to do for a number of years, but the circumstances just never came together to facilitate it. Now, thanks to Champ Car management, we've been able to realize that ambition, and we look forward to what I'm sure is going to be an exciting and highly enjoyable season." Minardi F1x2