Alexandre “Xandi” Negrão successfully completed a two-day test with Rocketsports Racing at the Mercedes-Benz of Sugarland Road Course in Houston, Texas this week.
The two-day test, which was conducted on Wednesday and Thursday this week, gave Negrão an opportunity to get behind a Champ Car and try out a true America-road course. It also gave Rocketsports the chance to evaluate Negrão as a driver and some testing time in the off-season, as the team prepares for the 2008 Champ Car World Series.
Negrão completed about 150 laps at 2.38 miles per lap for a total of about 350 miles of trouble free running. The team spent the first morning allowing Negrão to familiarize himself with the track and check that all of the car systems were ready for the test. They made small adjustments to the car during this period to get the car ready for the rest of the test. The afternoon was spent with Negrão learning more about the track and a Champ Car, while the team worked more on the chassis setup to suit the car to the track and to his driving style. Negrão worked at being more aggressive in the corners and shortening his braking distances.
Throughout this time, the data was reviewed by Rocketsports engineers to provide feedback on driving style and technique on individual sections of the track.
The second day saw further improvement in lap time and comfort in the car. This time was also used to move Negrão through a progression of changes that allowed him to feel different suspension and aerodynamic configurations. At the end of the day, the Rocketsports engineers allowed Negrão to direct setup development in a similar fashion to a race weekend so that the driver would be able to better assist the team in providing him with a fast race car.
Overall, the Brazilian was a pleasure to work with and gave excellent feedback to the team and mechanics during the two day test. Large strides were made in the second afternoon as the driver and car became one. As Negrão became more comfortable, he pushed the car more and more and was rewarded with improved lap times as his runs progressed.
“Over the last two days, I learned how to drive a big and powerful race car,” said Negrão. "It took a little time for me to get used to the track, because it offered different challenges to what I am used to driving on in Europe. But every time that I went out on there, I was able to learn more and more about the track and the car, ultimately making this test a success. The #8 Rocketsports Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone Champ Car is fast and a lot of fun to drive. The Rocketsports team gave me great support throughout the three days that I have been here in Houston with them. I am just so happy with the overall experience, that I would like to thank the team again for this opportunity and I hope that we will be able to work together more in the future.”
Negrão was the only car running at MSR Houston on Wednesday. The team was then joined by fellow Champ Car competitor, the newly named, Forsythe/Pettit Racing on Thursday, who were out there testing Champ Car Atlantic driver Franck Perera.
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