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uploaded 2/13/2000

Spring Training Tech Stuff

Back to Spring Training Start Page

Yeah, the tech guys were nervous. A lot was on the line. Ganassi switched to Toyota power and the Toy boys seemed to step up to the plate and take a big swing. Word from early testing was that Juan Montoya and Jimmy Vasser were pleasantly surprised at the power and reliability of the engines.

Ilmor/M-B engines needed to show some gains. The brand new Cosworth/Ford engine seemed the front runner. Honda, usually the most powerful and reliable but also heaviest, hoped to keep pace.

Last year's Reynard disappointed some of the teams, who thought the company was spending time and money on F1 instead of CART. At Spring Training Ganassi brought Lolas saying they were still evaluating them. I'll bet that's negotiating talk. They would have brought Reynards also if they hadn't already decided to use Lolas.

Newman-Haas racing also switched from Swifts to Lolas. Michael Andretti told me the car is very responsive to changes, "It reacts to changes the way you expect a racecar to react," he told me.

Ben Bowlby and Frank Dernie

The main guys at Lola responsible for the recovery are Ben Bowlby, chief designer, having a cold drink and Frank Dernie, head of engineering.

The Lola effort was not, however, without glitches. Here's a photo of a spacer add-on to the Lola nose.

Lola Nose Patch

I asked one person what the part was and was told, "It's a part of the Newman-Haas test program."

I like asking several people the same question. The next answer came with a smile, "It's highly technical."

"Just getting the wing out further for a longer moment arm on the force?" I asked.

"Yes," was the reply. "Getting it to the full extent of the rules."

"Why would you ever run it any other way?" I asked.

Another sheepish grin, "Not to be discussed."

I laughed. "Sounds like a little miscommunication."

"Yes, that must be it," came the reply. I walked on not wanting to press my luck.

Wednesday's Track Sessions

Michael Andretti got up to speed quickly in the Wednesday morning session, but by noon Kenny Brack, driving for Team Rahal had the quickest time, 26.531 sec. and 203.807 mph. Andretti was second with Brack's teammate, Max Papis, third. The top five cars were Ford-powered with two Lolas and three Reynards. The quickest Toyota was Jimmy Vasser, 9th and 0.7 seconds back of Brack.

The PM session saw the top three Ford-powered: Papis, Brack, and Patrick Carpentier driving for Players/Forsythe racing. Juan Montoya's Toyota/Lola earned fourth.

Pitot Tube

Dario Franchitti ran with a pitot tube mounted high above his roll bar. A pitot probe measures the difference between dynamic pressure and static pressure which is a direct correlation with air speed. The probe is high enough to see straight, clean air undisturbed by tires and wings.

Extra Nose Wings

The Players/Forsythe team tried this nose with two extra sets of wings. The flat plates ahead of the wing are easy to see but another set of short wings are just behind the main wings.

Winners and Losers

The combined times for the two days show Max Papis ran the quickest times. Papis did a lap in 25.760 sec. at 209.907 mph. His teammate, Brack was next followed by Michael Andretti in a Lola. Jimmy Vasser was fourth quick in a Toyota/Lola with his teammate Montoya sixth. The best a Honda-powered car could do was Gil de Ferran in 10th 0.8 sec. slower than Papis. Three Lolas in top 10.

The lone Swift driven by Bryan Herta for Steve Horne's Jerry Forsythe-owned team was dog slow more than two seconds slower than Papis. The best Ilmor/M-B powered car was Mark Blundell in 13th.

The new Ford/Cosworth engine is the Winner. The Ilmor/M-B engine is the Loser. Best Improved is a tie between Lola and Toyota.

It'll be a great season.




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