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Roadfly Magazine
Issue Nine
Table of Contents

Past Issues Index
Roadfly Magazine
Issue Nine
October 29, 2003
Fernandez Racing
Fernandez Interview
Hot Lap: Strong Strut
CPO Nightmares
Lotus Elise Preview
Coming Next Issue
Bimmer Roundup Coverage
Hot Lap: The Wheel Exchange
Review PowerBook G4 17 inch
Want Clean Glass?

A Weekend Behind Pit Wall:
Team Fernandez & Laguna Seca, continued.
Nope. I managed to get the nose of one car and a blurry rear wing shot of another. This is going to take some practice...The Champ Cars are lapping the 2.238 mile track in about 1 minute and 10 seconds. After the first practice session, we learn that Team Fernandez is a little off the pace with lap times in the 1:12 range. Two seconds is an eternity in CART racing, so the team has their work cut out for them - the next practice session will start in less than an hour.

The second practice session fares better, but traffic creates headaches for the #51 Team Fernandez Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex car. Adrian pulls into the pits after the practice session, and before he even has his safety belts undone the crew has removed the racing tires and is putting on rain tires. Adrian exits the car and with his helmet still on comments that the car feels a lot better than it did after the first session. He removes his helmet, grabs a drink of water, and hops on his bike. He's headed back to the hauler for a debriefing session with the engineers.

Somewhat surprised to see the rain tires go on, I ask one of the crew members why they've switched to rain tires. Brian Vanetti (outside rear tire changer and mechanic) tells me that they always transport the car on rain tires. CART allots a limited amount of racing tires per event (typically seven or eight sets of 4 tires), so the team can't afford to have a tire damaged by debris while the car is being rolled around the pits.

Qualifying is scheduled for 2:30pm and there's a lot of work that needs to be completed in a short amount of time. The crew pushes the red and green #51 car back to the garage where they make a series of adjustments in preparation for qualifying. While the team works on the car, we make our way to the hauler. Adrian is talking about the car's characteristics with his engineers and the discussion is extremely interesting.

They're busy trying to determine how to make the car handle well without sacrificing speed, and there's talk about braking efficiency. Adrian feels that the car isn't rolling through the corners smoothly - he has to stay off the gas too much at times, and would like to be able to use more throttle, earlier.

As Adrian continues to discuss handling and strategy with the engineers, we decide to make our way over to the team's hospitality tent. Most of the Champ Car teams have hospitality tents in which guests of the team can kick back and relax with some food and drink.

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