Junqueira laps St. Petersburg circuit

Bruno Junqueira has become the first driver to lap the new 1.78-mile circuit in St. Petersburg that will host the opening round of the Champ Car World Series on February 23

Junqueira laps St. Petersburg circuit

The Brazilian, along with other Champ Car drivers, visited the Florida city ahead of the series' annual Spring Training test session, which begins at the Sebring circuit today (Tuesday).

Newman/Haas took the opportunity to announce that Junqueira's car would be sponsored by PacifiCare Health Systems, who will also act as the official health-care provider to the series.

Junqueira completed two laps of the circuit, which runs on a combination of city streets and airport runways, although he was forced to run behind a police escort for the test. "It's a good track," he told The St. Petersburg Times. "It's fast. It's pretty wide, especially on the main straightaway by the airport. There's going to be some passing, for sure. It's going to be very exciting.

"I just did two very slow laps with the police car in front of me. He wrote me a ticket because I exceeded the speed limit."

The Brazilian will get down to some more serious running during Spring Training, which is being held at Sebring for the first time. The mandatory three-day event will see all of Champ Car's teams in action, and is the final test before the start of the season. At the test, Briton Darren Manning will have his first run for Walker Racing.

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