Champ Car sets pre-season open test dates
Champ Car officials announced today that both the Champ Car World Series and the Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda will return to Sebring International Raceway and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for preseason test sessions in preparation for their respective 2008 seasons.
The first open test for Champ Car and Atlantic will be held at the historic Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida beginning on Saturday, February 2, 2008 and running through Wednesday, February 6. The Champ Cars are slated to be on track from February 2-4, with Atlantic testing planned for February 5-6. Sebring’s mild central Florida climate and challenging layout provides the perfect setting for drivers and teams to prepare for the rigors of the 2008 season.
In March, Champ Car and Atlantic teams will make their way west to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. for “Spring Training” as they make their final preparations for the upcoming season. Testing is scheduled for Monday, March 10 through Friday, March 14, with Atlantic machines kicking off the on-track activities on March 10 and 11, followed by the Champ Cars on March 12-14.
“Testing is a very important part of racing, and being able to get quality miles at Sebring is critical to having a successful season,” said 2003 Champ Car World Series champion Paul Tracy. “The track allows us to try a lot of different things and because we will only be in the second year of the DP01, information is still very important.
“I’m also glad we are going to test at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. That track is one of the best and it will give us some good data for a race there in May. Last year they had a big turnout for our open test and I hope we will see that again.”
The test sessions at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will provide opportunities for teams to fine-tune their setups for permanent road courses. The tests also will allow teams to zero in on their baseline setups for their first race on the picturesque, 2.238-mile permanent road circuit since the 2004 Champ Car and Atlantic seasons. Officials from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca announced last month that the Champ Car World Series and Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda would return to race on the Monterey Peninsula on the weekend of May 16-18, 2008.
In addition to on-track activities, substantial media activities are being planned for both open test sessions, with the traditional “Spring Training” season preview slated for the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca sessions. Additional details on those activities will be provided at a later time.
Next up for the Champ Car World Series is the penultimate round of the 2007 championship, the Lexmark Indy 300 at Surfers Paradise, Australia on Sunday, October 21. Live television coverage of the event in the United States will air on ESPN Classic beginning at 11:30 p.m. ET on the evening of Saturday, October 20. Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing driver Sebastien Bourdais will be looking to wrap up an unprecedented fourth consecutive Champ Car World Series championship in Champ Car’s annual trip “Down Under,” while a host of other drivers will be aiming to earn the prestigious Lexmark Indy 300 title.