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Tracy tops final test before season opener

 Fastest on Fontana road course
 April 14, 2004

LONG BEACH (April 14, 2004) – Defending Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford champion Paul Tracy (#1 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) flexed a little muscle in the final test session prior to this weekend’s season-opening Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, pacing a 10-car field on the infield road course at California Speedway Wednesday.

Tracy ran the only 52-second laps of the two-day test session to lead the way as the new three-car Forsythe Championship Racing team of Tracy, Patrick Carpentier (#7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Rodolfo Lavin (#3 Corona Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) wrapped up preparations to become the first full-time three-car team since 1993.

“All three guys ran today, we had no trouble and we were able to do a lot with the car,” said Forsythe team manager Phil Le Pan. “We spent a lot of time working on pit stops which is key for our team since we’ve expanded.”

Tracy and Carpentier topped the time sheets on the final day, Tracy leading the charts with a lap of 52.64 seconds with Carpentier stopping the unofficial clocks at 53.05 seconds. Right behind the Forsythe duo came the Mi-Jack/Conquest machine of Justin Wilson (#34 Mi-Jack Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), who carded a best lap of 53.10 seconds in the Wednesday afternoon session despite only having joined the Mi-Jack/Conquest squad two weeks ago.

“We have been able to work on the car a lot and it is getting better every time, but I feel that I still have work to do,” Wilson said. “I’m excited about getting to the track on Friday and seeing how it goes.”

Seven teams participated in the final test days leading up to this weekend’s Long Beach street race, including Newman/Haas, Walker Racing, PKV Racing and RuSPORT. Dale Coyne Racing also tested Oriol Servia and Tarso Marques in his cars this week as he prepares to name his two drivers in a Friday morning announcement in Long Beach.

Sebastien Bourdais (#2 McDonald’s Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) turned the fourth-best time of the day despite skipping the Wednesday afternoon session. Bourdais ran a 53.30 on Wednesday, one day after he and teammate Bruno Junqueira (#6 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) each led Tuesday’s action with identical 53.17-second runs. Bourdais was joined at the 53.30 mark by Marques, with Servia just one-tenth of a second back.

The Champ Car World Series will get its season underway Friday with the first on-track action of the year, running a 90-minute practice session which begins at 1 p.m. Eastern Time. Single rounds of qualifying will take place on Friday and Saturday, leading to Sunday’s season opener, which begins at 4 p.m. Eastern Time. Fans can follow all of the action on Spike TV and HDNet as well as on the official website of the series, www.champcarworldseries.com.

The unofficial top times of the day of testing at California Speedway are listed below.
1) Paul Tracy (#1 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) – 52.64
2) Patrick Carpentier (#7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) – 53.03 *
3) Justin Wilson (#34 Mi-Jack Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) – 53.10
4) Sebastien Bourdais (#2 McDonald’s Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) – 53.30 *
4) Tarso Marques (#19 Dale Coyne Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) – 53.30
6) Oriol Servia (#11 Dale Coyne Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) – 53.40 *
7) Rodolfo Lavin (#3 Corona Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) – 53.69 *
8) Jimmy Vasser (#12 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) – 53.70
9) Roberto Gonzalez (#21 NII Holdings Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) – 54.08
10) Mario Haberfeld (#5 Cummins Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone) – 54.14
11) Alex Sperafico (#24 Mi-Jack Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone) – 54.74
* Time set in morning session

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