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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.
Again, it was utterly amazing to watch a complete racecar transform into nothing more than a bare chassis-shell within a matter of sixty minutes. Each member knew his job exactly, and he worked with surgical precision.

We chatted at length with Brian Vanetti who described himself as a "floater mechanic" that helped out as needed in the garage. Brian is also the outside rear tire changer that we spoke to earlier on pit lane. Brian's roots are in NHRA drag racing, where he crewed for legends like Don "The Snake" Prudhome. While Brian enjoys CART racing, he commented, "Things were a lot more relaxed in NHRA racing. CART's much more politically correct."

While talking with Vanetti, we received word from CART officials that Jourdain Jr.'s car was underweight, and he would be stripped of his pole position. Fernandez just moved up to position 5 ("P5" as they say) for the start of Sunday's race.

John Slater, inside tire changer and mechanic was hard at work on the front half of the car. He was replacing all of the braking components and was rebuilding the steering assembly when we stopped to chat with him. "This is what we call the calm before the storm," he said as he twisted a Snap-On ratchet over a caliper mounting point.

John also explained to us that Team Fernandez uses a system of a "front crew" and a "back crew" - he and a few other crewmembers typically work on the front half of the car while another set of crewmembers typically focus on the back half of the car. While we were talking with John, Barry Scott walked by with a pan full of gears - he was rebuilding the gearbox.

"We've done this stuff so much that it's almost a matter of habit," said Tony Leith (outside front tire changer and mechanic).

While the crew continued to work on the car, we chatted with Mathew Leicht, who was serving as the Cosworth engineer for Team Fernandez this weekend. "We get shuffled from team to team each weekend, so the teams get a different engineer each weekend. This helps ensure that the playing field is level," he commented while he watched the crew transfer parts from their old Cosworth V8 to the new one.

Mathew went on to explain that Cosworth tries to be as "transparent" as possible to the sport - the motors have been relatively problem free this year and are making more horsepower with less RPM and less fuel consumption. "Reliability has been tremendous so far," he says as he reaches for a piece of wood to knock on. "I think the reason for the improved reliability and closer racing this year is due in large part to the deletion of traction control. Traction control made things somewhat difficult for us last year."

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