SEBRING, Fla. (March 22, 2002) --- Hot off of a third place
finish in the CART FedEx series season-opener in Mexico, Eli
Lilly and Company driver Christian Fittipaldi continued
Newman/Haas Racing's testing program and completed a two-day
test at the 1.65-mile Sebring International Raceway today.
Fittipaldi and team are preparing for the next round of the
CART FedEx Championship at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long
Beach, April 12-14 and hope to bring the team its fourth
consecutive victory in the series
Fittipaldi ran 226 trouble-free miles on Thursday and
approximately 170 on Friday while splitting time between his
Toyota-Lola-Bridgestone race car and back-up car both days.
His quickest lap time on Thursday of 51.1 was unofficially the
second fastest of the day behind Michel Jourdain while his
quickest lap time on Friday of 50.5 was unofficially the
quickest of the day as well as the quickest of the two day
"The test went very well," said Fittipaldi. "We tested a huge
list of things and learned a lot. The car is completely
different from the last time I tested here. They have
developed many things and the car is very good. The team
brought both of my cars and when I was in one, they were
changing the other car. The team worked very hard and we were
able to see the results immediately. My quickest lap yesterday
was on my third run on the tires so I know there was more in
the car yesterday. Both days were very positive. It was time
well spent. The plan is to show the results in Long Beach.
It's an important race for Toyota as well as my new sponsor
Eli Lilly, Chevron and CART as well. I'm due a good finish
there. I was fastest in the race morning warm-up last year and
the car was good but it didn't make it to the end. We plan to
change that this year."
Fittipaldi had planned to be in a race car the past two days
for a while but the type of car changed. Initially, he had
planned to make his 2002 Busch Grand National series debut in
Bristol, Tenn. this weekend but track availability forced the
team to test on these two days.
"We moved heaven and earth to schedule the test so that
Christian could race in Bristol this weekend but no tracks
were available that suited the criteria we needed to test on
and in the timeline we had available," said Brian Lisles,
General Manager of Newman/Haas Racing. "This was an important
test for us. In addition to working on car set-ups we are
testing for our engine partner Toyota in preparation for the
Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Christian has provided
valuable data from previous tests in Sebring in the past and
the new data we obtained the past two days will no doubt help
us run for our fourth consecutive race win on April 14."
Cristiano da Matta, driver of the Havoline
Toyota-Lola-Bridgestone, will take over testing duties on
March 26-27 on the Miami-Homestead oval.
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