Junqueira puts the Target Ganassi Lola/Toyota through
SEBRING, Fla. –– Team Target drivers Kenny Brack and Bruno Junqueira split time testing on the 1.65-mile road course at Sebring International Raceway in Florida this week in preparation for the 2002 CART FedEx Series. Junqueira took his first laps in the seat of the 2002 Lola on Monday and Tuesday and Brack assumed the driving duties on Wednesday.
Junqueira, who enters his second season with Team Target quickly adjusted to the nuances of the new Lola. After recording 150 laps on Monday and 130 laps on Tuesday, Junqueira was unofficially second fastest, turning laps in the mid 51-second range. The 25-year-old Brazilian was pleased with his first test of the off-season.
“I thought the test went very good,” Junqueira said. “I turned a lot of laps over the two-day test and it was good to get back in the car. It’s been a while since I’ve driven a Champ car, but I adjusted very quickly. I was the second fastest of the cars that were testing. The times are going to get better on Wednesday with the amount of rubber being put down, but it was a good test for me. I’m pretty happy with the 2002 Lola. The car is much better than the 2001 car was. Even though it was my first test this year, I feel very confident going into the season.”
Kenny Brack, the runner-up in the 2001 CART championship took over for Junqueira on Wednesday. Brack logged more than 280 miles and was unofficially second fastest on the day, turning laps in the mid to upper 50-second range. Brack, who won four races and six poles in 2001, continues to be impressed by his new team.
“I was able to get in a full day of testing on Wednesday and it was another productive test for us,” Brack said. “In the other tests that we did, we were the only car on the track. It was good for us to be able to compare our times to the other teams that were here. That lets us know where we stand in relation to our competition. We were able to get a lot accomplished in a short amount of time. This team continues to amaze me. We ran close to 300 miles today and we still haven’t had a mechanical problem. That will be important when the racing season comes. I’ve never driven that many miles in a one-day test before. These guys are driven to succeed and I think good things are going to come our way this year.”
Team Target managing director Mike Hull was impressed with Junqueira, who took his first laps in a car since the first week of November in Fontana. Hull believes there is a still a lot of work to be done in order to challenge for the championship this season.
“I’m very encouraged with the amount of laps we were able to turn here over the last three days,” Hull explained. “I’m also very impressed with what Bruno has done. He hasn’t missed a beat over the winter and was able to step into the car and be very quick. It appears to me that he has dedicated himself to winning the championship this season. Bruno was able to build on what Kenny has done in the car so far this season and on Wednesday, Kenny has now built upon what Bruno has done. They complement each other very well and that’s a good sign going into the season. Although we turned some competitive lap times, we don’t race here in Sebring. I still believe we have a lot of work to do on this car until we can be competitive on a consistent basis.”
Team Target now heads back to its race shop in Indianapolis this week before heading to Laguna Seca for the CART Sneak Preview Feb. 7-10
can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
to discuss this article