IndyCars Slower Than Champ Cars at St Pete

The first practice sessions at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg have shown the IRL series cars to be substantially off the pace set by those of the Champ Car series at the same circuit in 2003

IndyCars Slower Than Champ Cars at St Pete

Champ Car ran one race at the Florida circuit two years ago but have not returned. The best time set in practice at that meet was Sebastien Bourdais' time of 1m 0.985, fractionally slower than his pole lap of 1m 0.928, while Helio Castroneves has stopped the clock with a best time so far of 1m 3.0836.

The track is mostly unchanged from two years ago, with slight alterations to the severity of the angles at turns eleven and twelve following discussions with team owner Michael Andretti prior to the race.

"We're all going to compare, but it's not fair at all," Tony Kanaan told Speed TV after the sessions. "It's like if I gave you a power bicycle and I'll race you in a regular bicycle - one is turbo, the other is normally aspirated, and the turbo is always going to be quicker. No matter what you do, it's going to be faster. Our cars are heavier, too.

"It's not fair to compare, but we're going to keep doing it, so we'll keep trying to show the differences between the cars. Some people don't understand racing, so they're just going to go by lap times. If you go by that then yeah, we're going to be a little slower. That doesn't mean it's any easier."

"The times are getting closer to that of a CART car," Castroneves noted. "These cars have more downforce, so approaching a corner is slower than we're used to. At the same time, it's the same level of difficulty. It's hard, it's slippery - you just don't go out there and know what to do. You just have to take it easy, learn the corners and then go for it."

Dario Franchitti, however, had better things to think about than the difference between the two series: "It's just great to be back on the streets again - It seems like old times."

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