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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.
We continued to watch the crew work on the car, while we asked Mr. Leicht about the Cosworth engine lease program. "CART teams lease motors from Cosworth for approximately $1.275 million per year. They run a motor for a maximum of 1,200 miles - that can include practice, testing, racing, anything. Once they hit 1,200 miles, we exchange the motor. Old motors are returned to Cosworth where they are disassembled and evaluated."

We asked him if teams are allowed to do anything to the motor, and he said, "No, not really. The motors are all 'sealed' meaning that each team gets an identical motor to its competitor - that way, there aren't any advantages given to anyone based on motor performance."
What if a motor has 1,000 miles on it and the next 200+ miles includes a race day? "Then we replace the motor early. If you've got 800 miles on your motor and a 500 mile race is tomorrow, we'll have the motor exchanged so it's fresh for the race."

Feeling comfortable with Mathew, we decided to push him for some "dirt" by asking insider questions like what type of oil do the motors use? "I don't know, let's go see," he said as he walked over to the Team Fernandez supply cabinet. "Looks like they use Quaker State 5w30 synthetic blend," he said.

We thought he was joking, but as he said that, a Fernandez team member came over and grabbed two sealed cases of Quaker State 5w30 synthetic blend. We watched closely and carefully as he opened the cases, and poured quart after quart of the off-the-shelf Quaker State into the fresh motor's dry sump oil tank, 11 quarts in all. Leicht went on to explain, "Cosworth doesn't care what oil you use, as long as it meets our viscosity and performance requirements. We realize that teams have oil deals, so they usually use whatever is available to them."

By the time we were finished talking with Mathew, the team was already putting the car back together. When we left for the evening, the crew was scaling the car and making various chassis adjustments, and Kenny Szymanski was busy shaving the team's racing tires to make sure they were completely clean and ready for race day.

The entire team is nothing short of amazing - it was quite an experience to be standing inches from them as they tore down the car and rebuilt it.

Race day started with another early morning press meeting with CART officials. We were instructed on the timeline and schedule for the day's events. CART runs a tight ship - the schedule was coordinated to the minute. At exactly 12:21pm we would have to leave pit lane and return to the team's pit box. At 12:26pm the drivers would have to be in their cars. At 12:29pm the command would be given to start the engines and at 12:30pm, the cars would be doing their warm-up laps.

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