The week is just beginning for this year’s Champ Cars in Montreal with first-round qualifying taking place at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve on Friday, but 1,500 miles to the south, the week for next year’s brand-new American-built Champ Car has just come to a close.
The new Panoz DP01 Champ Car wrapped up its first week of on-track testing today, completing a program that covered more than 600 miles in searing conditions at Sebring International Raceway. The test team, which included engineers from Champ Car, Cosworth, Pi Research and Elan Motorsports along with Hewland and Performance Friction Brakes, oversaw a rigorous program that had the new car on-track from Monday to Friday under 90-degree temperatures each day.
The car spent the week in the capable hands of two-time Champ Car racewinner Roberto Moreno, who piloted the new machine through every lap of the week despite not having been in a Champ Car since 2003.
“It was nice to be back in a Champ Car and nice to have that kind of power at your fingertips again,” Moreno grinned. “I couldn’t be happier with this car. The new aero package is really nice and I think it will be great for the guys once the teams get ahold of it. We are really sticking well in the mid-speed corners and the car is really balanced well aerodynamically and we haven’t even thrown anything at it from a standpoint of trying to gain mechanical grip. I think that the team has done a great job with this car.”
The tough Central Florida weather meant that the testing program had to be ramped up slowly as engineers took care not to overheat the car and its components. But the DP01 passed every test with flying colors and the aero tools worked as expected in cooling all of the vital systems on the new car.
“It was a tough week to test but we got a lot of work done and are very pleased with what we accomplished,” said Champ Car Technical Director Scot Elkins. “We turned lap times that were competitive for the conditions and we are pleased with the amount of setup progress we have made. We are right on target with our development of the DP01 and are looking forward to the next phase of the program.”
The DP01 will now travel to Champ Car Headquarters in Indianapolis where it will go through its first technical inspection before heading back to Sebring for a second round of testing September 5-7.