Andreas Wirth back on track and breaking records Assen, Netherlands - As a prelude to the upcoming Champ Car World Series (CCWS) events in Europe, Andreas Wirth was honored to accept the invitation and challenge that the Champ Car World Series lay before him – break the current lap record at TT Circuit Assen.
Despite the fact that Wirth hasn't raced with the series this year, nor has he ever set wheels on the Assen Road Course, Champ Car were confident that he was the man to get the job done – break the lap record and promote the upcoming European CCWS events with charisma and style.
With the standing lap record of 1:32.824 set by Holland native Jos Verstappen in 2006 in the smaller, lighter, A1GP Team Netherlands’ car, it almost seemed like the odds were stacked against Wirth.
The pressure was definitely on today as Andreas strapped into the 2006 PKV Racing Lola – a car he hadn't driven since late last season when he enjoyed his Champ Car World Series debut with Dale Coyne Racing at Surfers Paradise Australia and Mexico City. Not only was he feeling a little out of practice, he also knew that Champ Cars had never run at Assen – except through racing simulation programs. Add to this the fact that Wirth had but five laps to get the job done.
All smiles, the excited young German related his experience, "Yeah, it was really great today, but it was like – 'no pressure Andreas – just go out there and make it happen in five laps'! That was crazy! I really feel I could have done better, but since I didn't know the track, and I had to warm the tires, bet in new breaks and rotors and try to get a feeling for everything in just a few laps, I guess it went pretty well."
Being typically hard on himself, Wirth wished he could have increased the lead over Verstappen's previous record, however, he can be proud to have accomplished was he set out to do, topping the Assen lap record with a 1: 28.276, bettering the record by more than four seconds.
Continuing on Wirth explained, "I had to improvise a bit today since the gearing wasn't perfect and the rear end was getting pretty loose on me through the corners. It was tough to give it all the car had in just a few laps – I didn't want to spin or crash it or anything, so I only gave it about 90% - I'm sure we could have knocked off another three or four seconds if we had a bit more time to work on a few things. This is a really nice track though - some really nice 90 degree corners and then some really fast ones you can take in sixth or seventh gear – it's going to be an awesome addition to the Champ Car schedule for both the fans and the drivers."
This elated racer went on to say, "It was very nice to be back in a Champ Car – it's just an awesome car! It was great to bring this event to the Rizla Racing Days this weekend, and I know the fans here in Europe are really going to enjoy having the series here when they arrive in August."
In closing Andreas had this to say, "I want to thank the Champ Car World Series for this amazing opportunity – I'm very happy that they had the confidence in me for this job, and I'm honored that they chose me over some of the other drivers that were available. Racing is my passion, and I do hope to be racing full time again very soon."
For photos from the event visit: http://www.champcarworld.net/pages/gallery.php?id=89