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San Jose Driver Interviews

San Jose, Calif., July 31, 2005 ó Julie Andre scours the San Jose pit lane and paddock looking for drivers to answer your questions. Then, she had a few of her own to solicit drivers' thoughts on the new track, what setup they start out with, and how long does it take to feel comfortable on the bumpy circuit.

READER TO JUSTIN WILSON: Would you like to go back to Formula 1 if you get a good offer from a top team?

WILSON: Iím pretty happy here. Quite pleased with how things are working out with Rusport. We have a very competitive team here. Everything is good!

JULIE: What are your thoughts of the track?

LAVIN: Itís pretty fun. It has a lot of bumps especially when you go over the train tracks. Itís challenging in Turn 1 and Turn 2. I just went through there flat once; the car has to be set up well. Hopefully, it will get better with time this weekend.

WIRDHEIM: I know they have worked a lot on it since yesterday to try to improve the track and the run off areas, because I was walking around it yesterday and it felt a little bit dangerous in some places. They have done a good job. The only place Iím worried about is the pit exit and the first quick chicane because itís very quick. The quickest chicane we have had this season. There is a big concrete wall on the right hand side if you lose it you are in big trouble.

MARSHALL: Iím impressed. They have done a fantastic job to put this together in this city. Itís got to be a hard job to imagine a race circuit. Thatís the hardest part to see a race track before you put the concrete barriers up. Itís exciting to drive. Itís going to be great racing!

BOURDAIS: The track is exciting, itís demanding, and fairly bumpy. But I think we will put on a good show here. It looks spectacular visually and they have done a terrific job of promoting the race. You can tell by the crowd turnout.

SERVIA: We as drivers always like longer race tracks and faster tighter corners. I think if we could gain another half mile that would be awesome. But I know it is difficult. Itís hard to find the right street that doesnít affect the traffic too much. There are good things and bad things when you are racing downtown. Itís great because you are where the fans are. You are using the same street they use to go buy groceries, so that is something interesting. On the other hand itís hard to make it as good as a permanent race track.

HUNTER-REAY: Itís been changing. I wish they wouldíve left it the way it was on Friday. Now the chicane has a huge bump in it and they put in another little chicane. Itís not good for your back, so we will see.

Quote Image WILSON: I think as an event it has been a great success. I think as far as the track is concerned improvements can be made. They can make it longer, try to make it a little bit smoother. Maybe keep all four wheels on the ground more often. All and all it is a great event for the city and for Champ Car. If you look at the crowd and the amount of sponsors on the wall itís huge!

JULIE: What set-up will you use to start?

LAVIN: We are using the base set-up that the team has for street courses. The car feels okay. We need to make some improvements especially with the brakes.

WIRDHEIM: We donít have information on this track, so we are using a mixture of Long Beach and Toronto.

MARSHALL: Gee if I tell you I would have to kill you! Probably more like a Toronto setup, itís fairly similar. Itís been a fairly good base for us. We were always a little behind the eight ball being the new guys with the Lola.

BOURDAIS: Our setup is probably more a combination. I would say a bit of Toronto and Long Beach but we usually start with a general street course set-up.

SERVIA: I believe most of the teams use a similar setup for the street courses because of the grip you have on the normal street asphalt. It doesnít change too much.

HUNTER-REAY: We use a mix of everything!

GLOCK: Usually you go with the set-up from the previous race and make some changes. But we switched things around and put the Long Beach setup on because thatís a fairly bumpy street course too.

JULIE: Approximately how many laps do you feel it will take to get comfortable with the track?

LAVIN: I just did 15 to 20 laps 6 months ago, so I am just getting into the groove and getting comfortable again. Iím sure I am going to be sore tomorrow!

WIRDHEIM: Pretty quickly actually. Itís a pretty tight and twisty circuit and obviously the grip is improving with time. I think it is a good layout. I would say probably about less than 10 laps.

MARSHALL: First 3 or 4 laps before I begin to feel comfortable. You improve the car the whole time. Things just get better and better as the car improves.

BOURDAIS: Not very many laps probably just about three or four, more if they keep changing the track.

SERVIA: It takes a while to get used to the track and when they change it takes extra time. But, it is the same for the other 19 guys. You just have to do it a little better!

HUNTER-REAY: A couple of laps; thatís it!

GLOCK: I would say it took about five to six laps to reach a good comfort level.

Copyright © 2005 by Julie Andre and Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.

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