Walt Disney World Speedway
Monday, April 8, 2002
Successful first Infiniti Pro Series test completed
by Race Author
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (April 8, 2002) - Indy Racing League driver Robby McGehee completed more than 100 miles in sunny, windy conditions during the successful first test of the Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series car April 8 at Walt Disney World Speedway near Orlando, Fla.
McGehee was pleased with the performance of the new Infiniti-powered Dallara on Firestone tires on the tricky 1-mile oval at the gates of the Magic Kingdom.
"It's a great car," said McGehee, the 1999 Indianapolis 500 Bank One Rookie of the Year. "After only the second run, it felt good. I was working with the engineers from Dallara, Infiniti and Firestone to figure out how the car would perform on long runs. It generates a lot of downforce, and it's really fun to drive. I really think it's the car guys should be in to take them into the Indy Racing League."
The one-day session generated initial on-track data regarding the Infiniti Pro Series car, which incorporates several unique elements, including a longitudinally mounted monoshock front suspension unit, a front-loading, six-speed sequential Ricardo gearbox and a stepped underbody.
"We were very pleased with the first laps in earnest with the new car," said Roger Bailey, executive director of the Infiniti Pro Series. "We had a couple of minor issues, but right off the bat, it felt like a real race car. The test was really about longevity and ensuring that all the components were sound and secure. We will now return to Indy, make the necessary adjustments and decide which venues will best suit further development of the car."
The inaugural season of the Infiniti Pro Series will begin July 7 at Kansas Speedway and culminate with the Sept. 14 season finale at Texas Motor Speedway. Nashville Superspeedway, Michigan International Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Gateway International Raceway and Chicagoland Speedway also will play host to Infiniti Pro Series events in 2002.
The 100-mile Infiniti Pro Series "sprints" will take place at the same track and on the same day as Indy Racing League events except for the Texas race, which will be contested the day before the IRL's season-ending Chevy 500.
Infiniti Q45 engines will power new Dallara Automobili chassis built for the series, with Firestone Firehawk tires used exclusively on all cars. The V8 engines will produce approximately 450 horsepower for the single-seat winged chassis, providing an ideal training ground for the 650-horsepower, single-seat winged cars of the Indy Racing League.