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DATE News (chronologically)
09/11/07
nascar
Day 2 of COT testing for Villeneuve
JACQUES VILLENUEVE, Bill Davis Racing: How has the test been going?
“The test has been going great and it has been a lot of fun to get out there with so many talented drivers. To be running in the middle of the pack with them is great and the fact that they trust me enough to stay behind me is good. The first day we were in the pack with several other cars and someone started to slow down up front, it got a little messy there for a moment, but nothing bad happened. I have just been trying to learn the draft and learn what the other cars are doing -- overall it has been a lot of fun.”

How do the speeds compare to other cars you’ve driven?
“This is very different than anything I’ve done before, but thankfully I’ve driven on ovals when I was running in Champ Cars about twelve years ago -- so there are a few memories there. Also in Formula 1, we have a few high speed tracks so that aspect is not too bad. But driving in these cars is pretty different because they are heavy and move around a lot. You can’t drive in too aggressively, you have to set the car up and know what you want it to do. That makes it fun because you have to have some patience.”

What has it been like to work with a veteran crew chief in Richard ‘Slugger’ Labbe and the Bill Davis Racing team?
“One rookie in the car is enough. It’s great to have the experience of ‘Slugger’ on the radio because he has seen all of this many times before. But the whole team has been great and they are very open-minded. They just want to make sure that I learn everything. Sometimes we’ll make a bunch of changes to the car just to see what it will do and not all of them will be good changes -- it is to help me learn about what the car will do and how it will react.”

RICHARD ‘SLUGGER’ LABBE, Bill Davis Racing: How has Jacques Villeneuve been doing in this test?
“He’s been doing a great job throughout the test and he has been able to spend a lot of time out in the draft pack. Thankfully he hasn’t made too many enemies and mainly just made friends out there. There has been a lot of time spent with him out there just learning the draft. I told him yesterday that we’re all rookies here because this is the first time that the Car of Tomorrow is being run here at Talladega. I think he was pretty impressed with Talladega when he road around here for the first time in a rental car and got a chance to really see all the banking. I’m sure it was intimidating from that angle, but once he got out there it was just another Sunday drive down the highway. But he’s done very well in the Car of Tomorrow and performed well in all the draft sessions. He’s really made some solid runs in this test and has been very impressive -- I couldn’t be any happier with what’s going on right now.”

How do you feel the COT has performed at Talladega in the test?
“It’s something new for everyone here and we’re trying to make changes in order to better understand it. It seems like a lot of things that used to work in the past on this track, they just don’t work on the Car of Tomorrow. We’re just throwing things at it and trying to learn so when we come back here to race -- we’ll have all the right things.”

What type of communication issues have you and your team faced with Villeneuve?
 “The biggest thing is that he’s trying to figure out the spotter because he’s telling him ‘clear high’ and ‘clear low’ and he just needs to be told a couple times. They just have to get the lingo figured out between the spotter and him. It’s one of those things that you usually learn over time and we are just trying to accelerate his learning curve. That’s why we’re running as much as we are because we are just trying to keep him on the track so he can try to learn everybody’s little secrets. He just has to watch and learn while he’s on the track with these other drivers.”

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