Las Vegas - Nevada
Por André Badaia - Fórum Best Lap
Neste domingo os bólidos da Champ Car voltam a acelerar, dessa vez nas ruas
de Las Vegas, traçado que estréia esse ano (embora já tenha feito parte da
Fórmula 1só que em um estacionamento de um cassino). Muita expectativa foi
formada sobre essa etapa acerca do futuro da categoria, que está de cara
Conheça o traçado de Las Vegas
Las Vegas (Estados Unidos).
Todos os Vencedores de Las Vegas
Copyright© 2005 Champ Car Brasil.
Welcome to Sin City.
The Vegas Grand Pix over the 2.440-mile, 12-turn street course held its first practice session this morning. Just getting here was a trial for some as the racetrack is located adjacent to the north/south I-15 freeway in the middle of downtown, an area almost alien to the Las Vegas strip.
Because there’s rampant construction around here, the track is quite dirty (dust in the infield has a way of doing that). The Champ Car World Series and Champ Car Atlantic Championship paddocks are housed in tent hangars, complete with air conditioning, as are the vintage racecars.
Media have been placed as far away from the pits as possible – about a quarter-mile – in the penthouise of the World Market Center next to the freeway. We’ve got a great view, but it sure is a pain getting here and there. The organizers have provided some golf carts, but that’s about it.
First practice started a bit late for the Champ cars and ended a wee bit early, thanks to Bruno Junqueira – who still hasn’t been formally announced for Dale Coyne’s #19 Sonny’s Barbeque Panoz DP01. The Brazilian veteran, paired with Katherine Legge in the #11 Sonny’s car, went into the tire wall at Turn 3 to end practice about five minutes early.
The track is dusty but smooth, according to most drivers I spoke with. Justin Wilson, whose sponsor CDW has a 513,000-square-foot western distribution center just five miles up the I-15, found the circuit quite nice after the first practice.
Wilson did remark that the bump in the tunnel just after Turn 11 makes his car jump and porpoise. It almost wants to throw the car against the wall, he said, but also agreed that the balance of the circuit is better than he expected.
Graham Rahal thought it was a “good thing we’ve got a chicane before that bump – otherwise we’d be close to [Nellis Air Force base] by the time we got down. Otherwise the track is treat,” he said.
Dan Clarke agrees that the Las Vegas circuit “feels like a real race track, not a street course.” He found no downside other than the fact that the track was a little bit dirty this morning.”
Despite being quickest in morning warmup, Sebastien Bourdais thought there were three irritable bumps: in Turn 2, at eh tunnel entry to Turn 3 and the already notorious Turn 11 tunnel bump.
With qualifying up in short order, no doubt we’ll learn more about the driver likes and dislikes. The weather here in overcast with temperatures in the high 80s or low 90s.
(c) 2007 Anne Proffit
Racing history in Las Vegas 4 / 4 /
© ChampCar-Racing.com / Mike Veglia, MSV.
Major league auto racing made its debut in Las Vegas in 1954 when a hundred-mile National Championship Race (the series which evolved into what Champ Car is now) was run.
The one mile dirt track it was held on was a former horse racing track found behind the old Thunderbird hotel. The race victor was Jimmy Bryan, who won the last four races that season and the 1954 championship. After that initial appearance Champ Cars did not return to Vegas for several years, but racing did not disappear. In 1966, the Stardust Raceway opened for business.
The 3-mile road course hosted major auto races from 1966-68 with Bobby Unser winning the one and only Champ Car race there in 1968. Champ Car staged two races in 1983 and 1984, with Caesars Parking lot configured into a modified oval consisting of five turns.
The unique design produced some exciting racing, with Mario Andretti winning in 1983 and Tom Sneva out dueling Al Unser Sr. in the 1984 season finale, in which Andretti clinched the season championship by surviving a spectacular late-race spin with John Paul Jr.
It's still possible to take a lap around the old racing circuit, but you had better have your wallet out as the Forum Shops at Caesars were erected on what used to be the front straightaway.
In 1996 Las Vegas Motor Speedway opened and hosted a wide variety of racing series, holding Champ Car races in both 2004 and 2005. The 2007 Vegas Grand Prix will mark the first time Champ Cars have graced the streets of the Las Vegas in the historic downtown area.
AUTO RACING PACKAGE: 2007 Champ Car
World Series drivers and teams
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (AP) — Drivers and teams in the 2007 Champ Car World Series season:
Sebastien Bourdais, No. 1, Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing
Born: Feb. 28, 1979
Hometown: Le Mans, France
Won third straight Champ Car title in 2006, the first driver in American open-wheel racing to accomplish that feat since Ted Horn in 1946-48. ... After four seasons, already 13th on all-time win list with 23, seventh in poles with 25, fourth in wins from pole with 14 and 17th in laps led with 1,640. ... Finished on the podium in 35 of his 59 starts, a 59.3 percent success rate that's best in series history. ... Became a father since the end of last season with the birth of daughter Emma.
FIND MORE STORIES IN: Racing | Championship | Atlantic | Formula One | Competition | Minardi | Hometown | Dale Coyne Racing
Graham Rahal, No. 2, Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing
Born: Jan. 4, 1989
Hometown: New Albany, Ohio
The son of 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner and three-time CART Series champion Bobby Rahal will race for rookie of the year in 2007. ... Now 18, became youngest driver (at 17) to win an Atlantic Championship race in 2006. ... Lost Atlantic championship by 16 points to Simon Pagenaud. ... Will finish high school in June.
Paul Tracy, No. 3, Forsythe Championship Racing
Born: Dec. 17, 1968
Hometown: Scarborough, Ontario, Canada
The 38-year-old 2003 series champion is the leading active driver in series wins with 30. ... Failed to win a race in 2006 for the first time in five seasons. ... Led just five laps all season, third lowest in a 16-year career, but had three runner-up finishes. ... Finished seventh in the final standings.
Robert Doornbos, No. 4, Minardi Team USA
Born: Sept. 23, 1981
Hometown: Rotterdam, Holland
Comes to Champ Car after two seasons in Formula One with Minardi and Red Bull. ... Made three starts last season with Red Bull Racing. ... Qualified a career-best 10th in China and set career highs with 12th-place results at China and Brazil. ... Made eight F1 starts with Minardi in 2005, taking season-highs with 13th-place runs in Turkish and Belgian GPs.
Will Power, No. 5, Team Australia
Born: March 1, 1981
Hometown: Toowooba, Queensland, Australia
Made two Champ Car starts in 2005 and put the lessons learned to good use in 2006, taking the rookie of the year award. ... Won the pole before his home fans at Surfers Paradise in Queensland, Australia, becoming the first Australian-born driver to accomplish the feat. ... Earned his first podium finish with a third-place run in Mexico City and finished sixth in final standings.
Mario Dominguez, No. 7, Forsythe Championship Racing
Born: Dec. 1, 1975
Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico
Back with team owned by Gerry Forsythe, who fired him midway through the 2006 season after several embarrassing crashes in which he took out teammate Paul Tracy. ... Owns the longest consecutive race string of 78 and has two victories, both with now-defunct Herdez Competition team. ... Earned first Champ Car pole last year in Houston. ... Was 2002 rookie of the year.
Alex Tagliani, No. 8, RSports
Born: Oct. 18, 1972
Hometown: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Moving to a new team after finishing in the top 10 for fifth consecutive season, despite missing Milwaukee race after a crash in practice. ... Scored two podium finishes and five top fives, including two straight to end the season and secure eighth in standings. ... Only win came at Road American in 2004.
Justin Wilson, No. 9, RSports
Born: July 31, 1978
Hometown: Sheffield, England
Had four runner-up finishes in the first five races last season, then overcame a broken wrist and missing the race in Australia to finish second in final standings. ... Earned third Champ Car win, adding two poles last season while driving for Rusport. ... Came to Champ Car from Formula One, where he ran with Minardi in 2003 before signing with Jaguar Racing for the last five races of that season. ... Tallest driver in the series at 6-3.
Katherine Legge, No. 11, Dale Coyne Racing
Born: July 12, 1980
Hometown: Northampton, England
First woman to compete full time in Champ Car in 2006, driving for PKV Racing. ... First woman to lead a Champ Car race, pacing 12 laps at Milwaukee in her first oval event, where she finished sixth. ... Emerged unscathed from a spectacular and frightening crash at Road America. ... Drove Mexico City season-finale with a broken thumb from a first-lap crash. ... Finished 16th in final standings as a rookie.
Dan Clarke, No. 14, Team Minardi USA
Born: Oct. 10, 1983
Hometown: North Yorkshire, England
"Speedy" Dan lived up to his nickname as a Champ Car rookie, collecting his first podium finish, a third place at Denver, and his first pole position in wet conditions at Road America. ... Had seven top-seven finishes and finished 12th in points. ... Burst onto the international open-wheel racing scene with a 2004 win in the prestigious Formula Ford Festival in England.
Simon Pagenaud, No. 15, Team Australia
Born: May 18, 1984
Hometown: Poitiers, France
Moves up to Champ Car after winning the 2006 Atlantic Championship and the $1 million bonus that goes with the title. ... Won one race (Edmonton) last year but scored six podium finishes and nine top fives. .... Posted eight top 10 finishes in the European Renault Series in 2005. ... Protege of three-time Champ Car champion and countryman Sebastien Bourdais.
Bruno Junqueira, No. 19, Dale Coyne Racing
Born: Nov. 4, 1976
Hometown: Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Three-time series runner-up lost ride with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing to touted rookie Graham Rahal, but wound up with the improving team led by Dale Coyne. ... Missed most of 2005 season after being injured in an Indianapolis 500 crash, but came back to finish fifth in the points despite being taken out of three races (Long Beach, Milwaukee and San Jose) in early race crashes.
Neel Jani, No. 21, PKV Racing
Born: Dec. 8, 1983
Hometown: Jens, Switzerland
Comes to Champ Car after serving as the third driver for Toro Rosso's Formula One team in 2006. ... First person to race an F1 car and a GP2 car on same day ... Has shown in preseason testing that he has the skills to contend almost immediately.
Tristan Gommendy, No. 22, PKV Racing
Born: Jan. 4, 1979
Hometown: Le Chesnay, France
Joins a talented rookie class after competing in a number of European open-wheel series, including GP2 and Formula Renault. ... Made nine starts in GP2 competition in 2006, scoring a pair of top five finishes in Barcelona for a season high. ... Breakout year came in 2002 when he won five races, 10 poles and took 10 podiums in 14 French F3 starts.
Ryan Dalziel, No. 28, Pacific Coast Motorsports
Born: April 12, 1982
Hometown: Coatbridge, Scotland
Finally getting his chance at a full-time ride after finishing second in the 2003 and 2004 Atlantic standings, scoring six wins and seven poles during those two seasons. ... Ran the Champ Car race in Toronto in 2005 for Dale Coyne, finishing ninth. ... Moved to sports cars in 2005 and started 2007 strong as part of the overall second-place team in the 24 Hours of Daytona endurance race.
Alex Figge, No. 29, Pacific Coast Motorsports
Born: Jan. 29, 1981
Hometown: Boulder, Colo.
Moves up to Champ Car after three full years of Atlantic competition, followed by two seasons of sports car racing with his current Pacific Coast Motorsports team. ... Figge campaigned full-time in the Atlantic championship from 2002-04, finishing in the top 10 in each of his final two seasons. ... Moved to sports cars in 2005, running in the Grand American Road Racing Series and American Le Mans Series. ... Earned seven top 10 finishes in 2006 competition.
Matt Halliday, No. 34, Conquest Racing
Born: July 14, 1979
Hometown: Auckland, New Zealand
Has experience in a number of open-wheel series, including Atlantics and the Indy Lights Series. ... Competed in nine A1GP events in 2005 and two last year for Team New Zealand.
The Associated Press