Toyota tests 2003 IRL powerplant

Toyota's new V8 engine completed its first serious test day at the Kentucky Speedway on Monday, in preparation for entry into the Indy Racing League in 2003

Toyota tests 2003 IRL powerplant

The Toyota motor ran close to 200 miles with two-time defending Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves behind the wheel of a Team Penske-run Dallara.

"We're pleased with how far along the Toyota Indy V8 is so early in its development," said Lee White, Toyota Racing Development's general manager. "While not getting too specific, our times today would have qualified us comfortably into an Sunday's IRL race here at Kentucky and the car appeared to perform even better on longer runs. Of course, we still have a long way to go before we're ready to race and there's a lot of work left to be done before Homestead next season."

Castroneves is scheduled to complete the two-day test session here at Kentucky today (Tuesday).

"For just its second time ever on a race track, the performance of the Toyota engine today paints a very optimistic picture for the future," said Castroneves. "It's good to be involved closely with the Toyota programme and be able to provide feedback from the same track, in similar conditions with similar equipment that we used in yesterday's race. It allows everyone with the programme to immediately see where we stand."

The early testing programme is also paying dividends off the race track, according to Tim Cindric, president of Penske Racing.

"It's very important to develop a close working relationship with our partner Toyota right now to hit the ground running into 2003," said Cindric. "We shook the car down and ran a systems check two weeks ago [at Nazareth] and it's amazing to see the improvement in such a short time. We're looking forward to providing our input with Gil [de Ferran] and Helio to continue to make progress in the future."

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