INDIANAPOLIS (June 9, 2003) - Michel Jourdain Jr. (#9 Gigante Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) will float back to Earth this weekend after a week of sitting on Cloud Nine as a career night at Milwaukee saw him lead a series single-race record 234 laps, claim his first CART Champ Car win and take a 10-point lead in the series standings.
Jourdain and crew will lead the charge to picturesque Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for Round 7 of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, as the series heads to one of the nation's top permanent road courses after a pair of oval-track events. Twenty-three championship points will be up for grabs in a tight title chase that could see any one of 13 drivers emerge from the weekend with a top-five spot in the season standings.
Team Rahal's Jourdain holds the lead in the standings after his Milwaukee win, but heads to a Laguna Seca track that has stymied him for much of his career. Jourdain's ninth-place finish last season was the only points-paying finish the Mexican veteran has earned in his previous seven visits to the Monterey track. He would seem to be with the right team in his quest for Laguna success however, as his Ohio-based Team Rahal has earned eight race wins and four poles at the Monterey track, four of those wins coming in succession from 1984-87 with team owner Bobby Rahal at the wheel.
Of course, the man directly behind Jourdain in the season standings has had a fair amount of success at Laguna Seca, as he has had nearly everywhere that the series hits, as his 22 race wins would attest to. But this visit to the Monterey Peninsula comes with a heightened sense of urgency for 1993 and '94 race winner Paul Tracy (#3 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), who is looking to end a skid that has seen him score just three championship points in the last month. Tracy, who built a seemingly insurmountable lead with three wins in his first three starts this season, has now fallen off the top spot after a Milwaukee race that saw pit problems end what had been a top-three run.
The other returning Laguna Seca winner will look to his thorough knowledge of the tricky California layout for some help as Jimmy Vasser (#12 American Spirit Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone) seeks to get himself back in the points race. Vasser has had great success at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in his Champ Car career, having scored top-10 finishes in seven of the last eight years, a stretch that includes a victory in 1997.
Bruno Junqueira (#1 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) has had a pair of good runs in his previous visits - having finished seventh in his rookie year of 2001 and fourth a year ago - but comes off a Milwaukee race that ended after just three laps when he spun and hit the wall. Junqueira was uninjured in the accident but had to skip a rainy test day last week at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Despite the early Round 6 exit, the Brazilian sits just 11 points behind Jourdain in the championship hunt and is the only driver to complete all 445 of the road-course laps run this season.
The West Coast swing that includes Laguna Seca and Portland provided a jump start to Patrick Carpentier's (#32 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) 2002 season, as the Canadian scored top-five finishes in both races to build the momentum that would carry him to wins at Cleveland and Mid-Ohio. Patrick comes to Laguna with momentum already on his side however as he earned his first podium of the season with a third-place effort at Milwaukee. Now fifth in the points, Carpentier leads the loop in laps completed (845 of 849) after earning his 14th career podium.
Adrian Fernandez (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) is another of the drivers in the CART paddock that circles the Laguna Seca date on their calendars when the slate comes out, and will be gunning for a chance to move into the title hunt. Fernandez, who is currently eighth in the standings, has tallied championship points in eight of his last 10 trips to Monterey. He earned points-paying finishes in every stop between 1993 and '96 and put points on the board again in four straight trips from 1998-2001.
Sebastien Bourdais (#2 Lilly Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) will make his first trip to the fabled layout, leading a contingent of seven rookies into Laguna Seca. Bourdais has qualified on pole for two of the three road-course races this season and claimed his first-ever Champ Car victory on the tight Brands Hatch circuit, but will be going head-to-head with the famous Corkscrew turn for the first time as he looks to hold on to his fourth-place position in the point chase.
Walker Racing's Darren Manning (#15 RAC Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone) comes to Monterey on the best run of his young Champ Car career. The British rookie has climbed higher on the results sheet on nearly every weekend, culminating with a career-best fourth-place finish at Milwaukee. Manning has closed the gap in the Rookie-of-the-Year standings on Bourdais to just 19 points and has moved into ninth place in the overall standings.
Another of the drivers on the upswing sits in the Visteon/Patrick Racing pits as Oriol Servia (#20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) has vaulted to seventh in the points despite scoring just two points in the year's first three races. A second-place run at Milwaukee gave Servia three consecutive top-five finishes for the first time in his career and has one of Champ Car's founding teams looking for its first win since 2001.
Patrick's win came courtesy of Roberto Moreno (#4 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) in 2001 at Vancouver, but the veteran has some Laguna success on his racing resume as well. The Herdez Competition driver finished as the runner-up to Bryan Herta in 1999 and was fourth in 2001, and will be looking for a strong run to vault himself into the top 10 as the series schedule starts to heat up.
Alex Tagliani (#33 Johnson Controls Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) comes off his first Laguna top 10 a year ago, and is riding the momentum of having brought Rocketsports Racing its first-ever Champ Car pole when he was awarded the top spot at Milwaukee. Tagliani took his fourth career pole by virtue of his Saturday practice time when Saturday's night qualifying session was rained out. Tagliani went on to score his third top-five finish of the season and is 10th in the point standings.
Gualter Salles (#11 Alpina/Golden Cross Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) will be making his second start of the season in the Dale Coyne entry but heads to a track where he is a bit more comfortable after his debut resulted in a 13th-place run at Milwaukee. Salles has not run at Laguna Seca since 1997 but earned his best-ever CART Champ Car finish that day, coming home in seventh after starting 18th.
Another driver that can call up his Laguna Seca experience - albeit from the Champ Car Ladder System - resides in the American Spirit Team Johansson pit as Ryan Hunter-Reay (#31 American Spirit Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone) looks to reprise his race win from last year's Toyota Atlantic Championship. Hunter-Reay rolled from the pole, led all 30 laps and claimed the first of his three Atlantic wins last season as he bested Rocky Moran Jr. by more than eight seconds.
Many of the future stars of the series will be on display for the Monterey fans as the Champ Car Ladder System will take to the track as well in the form of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship and the Barber Dodge Pro Series. The Atlantic Championship will race on Saturday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time with the BDPS event running Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m.
The Grand Prix of Monterey will take place on June 15, and will be broadcast live by CBS Sports at 3:30 p.m. Eastern. The race broadcast will be preceded by qualifying coverage on SPEED Channel starting at 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time Saturday.
- Mexico's Michel Jourdain Jr. (#9 Gigante Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Team Rahal led a CART Champ Car race record 234 laps of the 1.032-mile Milwaukee Mile and held on to claim the first win of his eight-year career in Round 6 of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. Jourdain set a CART race record for most laps led in a race, eclipsing the previous mark of 222 led by Nigel Mansell in Michigan 1993. In addition to an emotional win in CART's first ever night race, Jourdain enters Round 7 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca holding a 10-point advantage in the championship with 77 over three-time 2003 racewinner Paul Tracy (#3 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Player's/Forsythe Racing.
- Spaniard Oriol Servia (#20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) drove to a career-best finish of second at Milwaukee as he piloted his Patrick Racing machine to the line a scant 0.468 seconds behind Jourdain. Servia was involved in a number of thrilling side-by-side battles with Tracy for position in the top-three - a tribute to CART Champ Car's Technical staff for reinstating the road course wing package on the short oval. As a result, the run vaulted Servia into seventh place in the points with 40, moving him up four spots in the standings.
- Patrick Carpentier (#32 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Player's/Forsythe Racing finished a season-best third at The Mile, recording his second top five of the season after a third-place run at Brands Hatch. The Canadian set the fastest lap of the race on Lap 246 of 250, and would come up just 0.704 seconds short of racewinner Jourdain. Carpentier is fifth in the championship with 48 points and has completed the most laps in the series (845 of 849) heading into Laguna Seca.
- Rookie Darren Manning (#15 RAC Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone) of England crossed the line just 1.104 seconds back in fourth and posted his best-ever CART Champ Car finish in Milwaukee, improving a race-best seven spots from his grid position to take top rookie honors as well as being the top-finishing Reynard in the 250-lap event. Two-time racewinner this season Sebastien Bourdais (#2 Lilly Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Newman/Haas Racing leads the Rookie of the Year race through Round 6 with 53 points (fourth overall) to Manning's 34.
- Canadian Alex Tagliani (#33 Johnson Controls Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) comes off a fifth-place result in Milwaukee. Tag posted the top overall lap time in practice which earned him the pole after qualifying was washed out. With 32 points, the Champ Car veteran stands a strong tenth in the championship for team owner Paul Gentilozzi and his rookie Rocketsports Racing Champ Car effort.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
- Paul Tracy has recorded two wins (1993-94) and a pole ('94) at Mazda Raceway in his Champ Car career. Other notable finishes for the Canadian pilot in Monterey include second in 1995, eighth in '98 and fourth in '99.
- Another Champ Car World Series driver who has displayed speed at Laguna Seca in the past is 1997 race winner Jimmy Vasser (#12 American Spirit Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone) who is in his first season with former Champ Car driver Stephan Johansson's American Spirit Team Johansson. Vasser. The 1996 CART Champ Car titlist currently sits 11th in the standings with 27.
- Bruno Junqueira (#2 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Newman/Haas Racing fell to third in points with 66 after a Lap 3 accident took him out of contention in Milwaukee, but the Brazilian pilot has respectable finishes of fourth (2002) and seventh (2001) in his two visits to Laguna Seca.
DID YOU KNOW?
- The signature corkscrew at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (turns 8 and 8A) drops nearly 50 feet. The elevation change from the entrance of the corkscrew to Turn 11 is equivalent to a three-story building.
- Bobby Rahal To Serve as Grand Marshall...Racing legend Bobby Rahal is being honored as the Grand Marshall for this year's Grand Prix of Monterey. Rahal is being recognized for his unmatched accomplishments at the circuit, as well as his life-long contribution to the world of auto racing...Rahal, who is one of the greatest all-time in open-wheel racing, won four consecutive Champ Car races at the world-renowned track from 1984-87. He also has three more victories as a team owner, in 1998 and '99 with Bryan Herta at the wheel and 2001 with Max Papis driving. Michel Jourdain Jr., in Team Rahal's Gigante-sponsored Champ Car, leads Rahal's hopes for another Grand Prix of Monterey victory this season.
- New Premier Pit Row Suites and Garages...Unveiled at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in January, 2003, the new complex is located inside Turn 11 at the entrance to Pit Row, and contains 12 hospitality suites on top of 10 double-car garages. The project broke ground on February 8, 2002, was built at a cost of $7.5 million and is the first phase of a major capital improvement campaign underway at the facility. The Premier Pit Row Suites feature four corporate suites and eight individual Suites, directly overlooking the action on Pit Row. Corporate suites are designed for companies hosting up to 40 guests in a climate-controlled environment and include indoor and outdoor seating, multiple televisions, wet bar, refrigerator, private bathroom, and a conversational seating area. The individual suites are designed for individual fans or company's hosting small groups. They also feature multiple televisions, wet bar, refrigerator, private bathroom and outdoor seating. The 10 double-car garages are each 16' wide and 32' deep. They feature one walk-through door and roll-up doors on both front and back, making it easy for teams to move their cars and support equipment from their trucks in the paddock, into the garages and out onto Pit Lane. Each garage contains a 110 volt electrical supply and phone lines. The ground floor of the building also features a catering kitchen to support the hospitality suites and men's and women's restrooms. The garages got their first taste of action when CART Champ Car teams tested in mid-January.
- Ford Motor Company Celebrates 100th anniversary...This weekend marks the 100th anniversary of Ford Motor Company, which was founded on June 16, 1903 by 39-year-old entrepreneur Henry Ford. The historic occasion will be celebrated on the grounds of Ford Motor Co.'s World Headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., from June 12 - 16...Racing legends Sir Jackie Stewart, Dan Gurney, Carroll Shelby, Ned Jarrett, Junior Johnson, the Wood Brothers and many more will be on hand along with many of the cars that they and other Ford legends have driven throughout the years. Visitors to the event will also be treated to a concert series that will feature performances by Beyonce Knowles, Toby Keith and Earth Wind and Fire...In addition to the festivities in Dearborn, Edsel B. Ford II will serve as grand marshal of the NASCAR Winston Cup race at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, June 15, and all Ford teams and drivers will be wearing Ford Centennial hats throughout this weekend's CART Champ Car, NASCAR and NHRA events...Over the past century Ford Motor Co. has put a strong emphasis on racing, and rightfully so, since funding to start the company came from a race won by Henry Ford in 1901. In Henry's first and only competitive race he defeated Alexander Winton in a 10-lap event at the Detroit Driving Club in front of a number of potential investors. The prize won was $1,000 and a cut glass punch bowl, however, the acclaim brought him one step closer to achieving his dream, because several people watching that day would come forward and offer financial support for subsequent efforts...Henry Ford established Ford Motor Company 20 months later. He proved his belief in low-cost production and created the car that literally put the world on wheels. The impact of Ford's automobile company goes beyond the auto industry as it has had a manor impact on society as well with the development of the moving assembly line and the $5-a-day workday.
THE GRAND PRIX OF MONTEREY PRE-RACE QUOTEBOARD
MICHEL JOURDAIN JR. (#9 Gigante Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "The night at Milwaukee was perfect. After Long Beach I thought I would never have as good a car again, but once the Milwaukee race began I found I had an even better car than at Long Beach. To take over the points lead is a testament to all the hard work the Gigante team is doing. I have had a great car every week and that has allowed us to be competitive on track and to put ourselves in position to qualify well and race at the front. Sitting on top of the points right now means just as much as leading lap 50 at Long Beach. It is nice to say you did that but it doesn't mean anything. The only time it really matters to be on top of the points is when you are driving out of Fontana after the race. Don't get me wrong it is better to be on top than behind at this point of the season, but I try not to get too excited about the points lead because we still have 13 races to go. We have to keep scoring points. Wins are great, but podium results are the key. If you look back over the years it isn't always the guy who wins the most races who wins the championship, but the driver who is on the podium the most. We will race to win every week, but I also realize that the championship is like a marathon and that you have to take the points when they are available."
PAUL TRACY (#3 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "It's funny how things go sometimes. Early in my CART career, I won two years in a row (1993-94) at Laguna Seca, and the second win was from the pole. Then I finished second the year after that and I've only come close to getting back on the podium once since then. This track is tough on cars and drivers alike. Plenty of elevated areas, lots of twists and turns and, of course, The Corkscrew, which really shakes the cobwebs. I always look forward to the challenge of racing at Laguna because it's one of those tracks with a lot of history. Every year, I tell myself that I'm going to get back to my winning ways at Laguna, and maybe this is the year. There's no doubt we're all disappointed at Team Player's when we see that we now have to play catch-up in the drivers' standings. As competitive as this series is, you simply can't afford to have even the slightest slip-up because the points you lose are so hard to recover. Still, you can't sit around and mope and whine about your fate. We win as a team and we lose as a team. The important thing is to pull together and have one of those seamless rides like we had when we were winning races earlier in the season."
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (#1 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I have raced at Laguna Seca twice and it's a very nice road course that has some fast corners. For sure the corkscrew is pretty exciting and challenging for the drivers and qualifying on that track is pretty nice - I love it! I really enjoy racing there. Last year I had a very good car and I finished fourth. I also had a good car the first year but the yellow flag situation didn't help me or many others much. I remember that last year I was very good there but not as fast as the Newman/Haas guys Cristiano and Christian but now I am going back in a Newman/Haas car and I think I will run much, much better and try to get the win. After setting the fastest lap time in the pre-season test as well as the fact that Cristiano won from pole there last year and Christian finished second makes me confident that the PacifiCare car will be good there on race weekend."
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (#2 Lilly Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I think Laguna Seca is a race track where I'm probably going to be quick because it's the only one so far that I will have had experience on before the race and also because it is more like a European track. I just enjoy that kind of road course but it's also going to be a tough race because Bruno is very quick on that type of course and I think that PT (Paul Tracy) and (Patrick) Carpentier were not so far back when we tested there and they were just discovering their cars. I think I will have a good car in my hands though and the Lilly team should have a good weekend."
PATRICK CARPENTIER (#32 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "If you like thrill rides, you have to like making the tour of Laguna Seca. Racing on this track is a blast, especially when you're taking The Corkscrew at about 170 miles an hour. A lot of the turns are actually like hairpins, so they can be quite tricky. And there are some blind spots where you really have to be alert and careful. I hadn't had much success at Laguna until last year, when I was running fourth for quite a while before finishing fifth. Qualifying well is a big factor at Laguna because there aren't a lot of passing opportunities during the race. Pit strategy comes into play quite a bit. I'm happy to be leading the series for laps completed and being able to finish every race so far. That's a credit to Team Player's and the great job the crew has done to give me a reliable car every time out. We've been able to get closer to the podium in just about every race, so the key is to keep progressing and get that first race win of the season. Consistently being in the points, as we have, is one way to keep moving up in the standings, but you also have to pick up some wins if you're going to be a serious threat for the championship. It would be great to put up the first victory on a tough track like Laguna."
MARIO DOMINGUEZ (#55 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I'm really looking forward to racing at Laguna Seca this week. I know this track well since I started my motor racing career here in the Formula Russell Mazda series. We had a good test at Laguna Seca back in January but we've done so much development on the car setups since then that I think we'll have an even quicker car now than we did at the test. It will be interesting to see how much we can improve! It's always great to come to Laguna Seca to race - the track itself is fantastic, there are a lot of CART enthusiasts in the area, the race always draws a big crowd and it's such a beautiful part of the country."
ORIOL SERVIA (#20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "Laguna Seca is a track I like very much. I have always enjoyed racing there because the track is very challenging and fun to drive. The Visteon/Patrick Racing Team did its first test with the Lola in the winter at Laguna Seca. Since then we have developed our setup and are much more competitive, so I am looking forward to a good race. The Visteon/Patrick Racing Team has had three good results in a row, which have put us back in the hunt for the championship. The engineering staff led by Steve Challis has consistently given me a good car and the crew has done a fantastic job. It is still very early in the season, so we cannot relax. We have to keep working hard and continue to produce top finishes."
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "Michel [Jourdain] has won his first race; we are looking to do that as a team. I have won races but not as Fernandez Racing. We have a lot of guests coming to Laguna Seca and it would be fantastic to achieve our first win there. We are working very hard and we are very positive and have learned from our mistakes. We look forward to a good race at Laguna Seca. The track is challenging and it is unique with the elevation changes. It is a place that I enjoy driving. My dad will be there for Father's Day and his birthday so that will be good. We have a lot of fans in the area and it is always nice to go back to see a lot of friends and fans that have been with us for many years."
DARREN MANNING (#15 RAC/Walker Racing Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "Laguna Seca is so popular in Europe. It's very similar to a lot of the race tracks over there - very undulating, a lot of ups and downs, and obviously there's the famous Corkscrew. It's a race track that I remember from watching Champ Car races in the UK. I'd say it's probably going to be one of my favorite tracks this year really. It's certainly one I've been looking forward to. I'm looking forward to getting back on a proper road course circuit, and especially after tenth, sixth and fourth . . . first should be just around the corner."
ALEX TAGLIANI (#33 Johnson Controls Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I'm looking forward to returning to Laguna. This part of California is so beautiful. Fans love to travel here and camp out over the weekend. It's a great track for spectators, especially at the Corkscrew. This is a very unusual road course as there are a lot of elevation changes. It is one of the more physical, and a difficult track in the series with the high G forces and fast corners, but that makes it even more of a challenge to drive."
JIMMY VASSER (#12 American Spirit Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "Returning to my home track is always the highlight of the season for me. My memories of Laguna Seca extend all the way back to my childhood. I used to go there with my dad and that track is really what sparked my interest in road racing. On top of that, some of my greatest and most accomplished memories of my career came at Laguna Seca. I won my first big Formula Ford race there in the 80's, I won an Atlantic race there in 1997. In 1996 I clinched the series Championship at Laguna Seca, that was the same year that my good friend and teammate Alex (Zanardi) made "the pass" on (Bryan) Herta. The next year I won the race and Alex won the championship there, that was pretty cool. It is a special place with a lot of meaning for me. This year we are racing there on Father's Day, I always have a lot of friends and family at Laguna Seca, but this year it will be a little bit more special, hopefully, I can give my dad the trophy for Fathers Day."
ROBERTO MORENO (#4 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "Well, first of all, I am looking forward to getting past the first lap at Laguna Seca! I think this has been the longest two weeks of my career waiting for the start of this race after going out so early at Milwaukee! But seriously, I really enjoy coming to Laguna Seca. The track itself, I think, was really the first "proper" racing circuit in the US, with lots of challenges for the drivers. It requires a very special way of setting up the car to go fast there because the car must be good at two or three different cornering speeds. So you are looking for a happy medium. It's very demanding; on the set up, on the equipment, and on the driver. We are going there I think with a very good starting point on the car. What is important for us now is to bring home some points and get back in the fight for the championship!"
MARIO HABERFELD (#34 Mi-Jack/Conquest Racing Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "This is the first circuit we're going back to. We had a test there on January 25th and 26th, so I know this circuit. However, the car has changed a lot since then. We have a different setup and a different engineer. It is good to be back on a normal circuit instead of an oval. I'm really looking forward to the weekend."
TIAGO MONTEIRO (#7 Fittipaldi-Dingman Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "Laguna Seca is obviously an amazing track. It's very demanding with its famous Corkscrew turn. I'm looking forward to the event. I heard it an amazing event with lots of fans. The team and Emerson have told me that from their experience they think I'm going to love the next two events. They think the tracks will suit my driving style with their long sweeping turns. With the car, we can be low and competitive. I'm really looking forward to getting to Laguna and seeing for myself."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (#31 American Spirit Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "I love Laguna Seca, what an amazing racetrack. This is the race that I have anticipated more than any other. I won my first Atlantic race there last year, I won it from the pole position, it was an awesome weekend, definitely one of the best days of my life. A lot of my supporters are from the area, so it is especially rewarding for me to do well there, to give them a good result, so obviously I really look forward to returning. Racing around there in the Champ Car is going to be awesome, it is fast and it is technical, I can't wait, when you have a good car, this track is a driver's dream. I am working hard, the team is doing a great job, they have been working very hard and we are looking forward to rebounding there this weekend."
PATRICK LEMARIE (#27 PK Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) "I am very excited to go to Laguna Seca because I had such great results there in Atlantics (2nd place) and two years ago with Audi (3rd place). The relationship with (new PK Racing engineer) John Ward seems to be working well, and he knows the Laguna Seca track from his past Champ Car experience. We're looking forward to having a good weekend."
RODOLFO LAVIN (#5 Corona Competition Team Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "Laguna Seca is one of my favorite tracks. I had two good finishes during my years in Toyota Atlantic and hope to have similar success in the #5 Corona car this year. I think the track is going to be very exciting to drive in the Champ Car with the corkscrew and the fast corners at Turns 9 and 10. I've heard the race is very physically demanding so I've increased my time in the gym to better prepare myself."
- WHAT: Grand Prix of Monterey
- WHERE: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Monterey, California
- WHEN: Friday - Sunday, June 13-15.
- SUPPORT EVENTS: CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, Barber Dodge Pro Series
- 2002 CHAMPION: Cristiano da Matta
- 2002 POLESITTER: Cristiano da Matta
- TRACK LAYOUT: 2.238-mile permanent road course
- PIT STOP INTERVAL: 24 laps
- RACE LENGTH: 87 laps, 194.706 miles.
- TRACK RECORDS: Qualifying (one lap) - 2000, Helio Castroneves, 118.969 mph (1:07.722 seconds). Race - 2002, Cristiano da Matta, 101.164 mph (1:55:28.745), based on 87 laps (194.706 miles).
- RACE ROUND: 7 of 19 in the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford.
- NEXT EVENT: June 22, G.I. Joe's 200, Portland International Raceway, Portland, Oregon.