Fernández Racing Pleased with Honda/Lola Debut
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Shinji Nakano Back in the Saddle for Team’s Initial Shakedown

SEBRING, Fla. - Fernández Racing kicked off its pre-season testing program today with a shakedown of its new Honda/Lola package at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida. Following a switch to the Lola B2/00 for 2002, Fernández Racing is currently the only team running the Honda/Lola combination in the CART FedEx Championship Series.

Shinji Nakano, who returns to Fernández Racing for his third season of Champ Car competition, put the new chassis through its initial paces, logging over 85 miles on the 1.65-mile road course. He was part of a CART driving contingent that included Jimmy Vasser, Tony Kanaan, Mario Dominguez, Dario Franchitti and Christian Fittipaldi.

“This was our first day with a brand new package, and I’m pretty happy,” said Nakano. “We are still doing some trouble-shooting, but the car felt good. Obviously I need more time to be able to understand the car and to work with the setup to be quick. We just had today, so I am looking forward to coming back here in two weeks.”

Co-owner and Managing Director Tom Anderson was equally optimistic following the day’s activities: “I’m very pleased with our initial run. We were very happy with the way the car responded to a few changes that the engineers got to make today. We did have some teething problems with a few parts, but I would consider the problems we had minor and easily fixed.

“The guys did a very good job in putting the car together. We didn’t have the normal ‘new car’ problems. There weren’t any leaks, and the gearbox was really good. I’m very pleased with that. We were also pleased with the new EFI [data acquisition] system. Their updates over the winter worked well for the first test so that’s very encouraging. Obviously we have a lot of work to do with a new chassis and the new Honda engine, and I’m looking forward to getting back at it on the 23rd.”

The initial shakedown test also marked the first outing for Fernández Racing’s newest members–-Co-owner and Technical Director Don Halliday and Team Manager Bob “Buckwheat” Adie.

“Today was a classic shakedown day,” noted Halliday. “We had certain problems that you find when you interact new pieces together, like we have with the Honda and the Lola. We had a series of problems that we basically worked through, and we will continue to work through when we get back to base. We also discovered a few things that we need to do. In general, I’m pleased that the first day is over because we know what the problems are now.”

“It’s good to get that initial test under our belt,” added Adie. “I was very pleased with the way this group works together, and the guys did really well. We did okay for our first test.”

Fernández Racing returns to Sebring on January 23. Owner/driver Adrián Fernández will take his first laps in the new Honda/Lola during the two-day test, and will be joined by Nakano on the 24th.

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