HILLIARD, OH . .
.CART franchise member Team Rahal wrapped up a busy week of
in-season testing which saw Michel Jourdain Jr. and the
Gigante team testing at Sebring International Raceway and
Jimmy Vasser and the Miller Lite Indianapolis 500 team enter
the Indy Racing League race at California Speedway.
Racing, the Indianapolis 500 entry of Team Rahal, entered the
IRL event at Fontana to gain valuable track time in
preparation for the team's entry in the Indianapolis 500 this
May. The incident-free weekend saw Vasser finish ninth (Ron
McQueeney/IMS Photo) in the race and most importantly the team
collected a vast array of data which will help them prepare
for the challenge of the Indianapolis 500.
what we wanted to do here this weekend," said Bobby Rahal.
"Sure, I'd have like to have raced for the win at the end, but
our Miller Lite guys have been on a tough mission lately. Our
goal for the weekend was to find out as much as possible about
these cars. We were great on our pit stops and Jimmy did a
solid job behind the wheel. We know that Indy is much
different than here in terms of the engine and handling
settings. We can go to the Speedway in a few weeks and get
more information. I think we'll be ready when the Speedway
opens in the first week in May. I'm excited to go back there."
"It was definitely worth the trip out here to California for
our team," said Vasser. "We came to learn and that's what we
did. We are loading the car back on the truck in one piece but
most importantly we learned that there are a few areas that we
need to address. It is better to learn that here at Fontana
than at Indy. This was definitely a successful 'fact-finding'
tour for us. We gave it all we had today. There wasn't a lot
of attrition at the front and that made it tough. Our Miller
Lite team had great pit stops today and the car ran all day.
That was one of our goals when we came here. Now we'll go to
Indy in another week and see if we can learn a little bit
Across the continent at Sebring Raceway in Florida, the
Gigante team was busy working on the Team Rahal road and
street course set-up in preparation for the Grand Prix of Long
Beach (April 12-14). Michel Jourdain Jr. put the team's
Ford-Cosworth Lola through a day of testing, posting a fast
lap of 50.9 seconds on the 1.65-mile course at Sebring. The
team logged nearly 230 miles during the single day test.
"The track conditions weren't as ideal as they had been for
previous tests, but we were still able to get a lot
accomplished," said Jourdain. "The track was really quite
slick because they had the 12 Hours of Sebring here last week,
but we learned a few things about the car that should help us
at Long Beach."
Team Rahal is scheduled for its first short oval test of 2002
this week at Homestead Speedway. The two-day test slated for
Tuesday and Wednesday will utilize both Vasser in the Shell
car and Jourdain in the Gigante car. The next scheduled test
for the Rahal/Letterman Racing Indianapolis 500 entry is April
2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, weather permitting.
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