Panasonic Toyota Racing has today ended a productive four-day test at Circuit Paul Ricard in the south of France. The session marked the debut of the team's intermediary TF102B car, which incorporates next season's RVX-03 engine as well as a new seven-speed gearbox. Stéphane Sarrazin was at the wheel of the TF102B for all four days of the test, completing a total of 172 laps, almost 1000 kilometres.
Allan McNish and Mika Salo were also on testing duties, running some new aerodynamic parts on the TF102 in preparation for the US Grand Prix next week. McNish ran on Tuesday and Wednesday, managing a total of 107 laps, whilst Salo completed 40 laps during Thursday's session.
Norbert Kreyer - General Manager, Engine Department
"At this week's test we ran our 2003 engine, the RVX-03, for the first time and I am very happy with progress. We did not have too many problems, and it seems we are heading in the right direction. It was a positive and encouraging four days and it has been a real advantage to test next year's engine early on to give us more time for further development in advance of the 2003 season."
The Panasonic Toyota Racing team also offered Brazilian driver Helio Castro Neves the opportunity to drive the TF102 in Friday's session. The IRL driver completed 75 laps during the day and was pleased with the session.
Helio Castro Neves
"I loved every single second of today's session. I did quite a few laps, doing some long runs as well as some qualifying laps. This was my first time in a Formula 1 car and I was impressed by how easy the TF102 was to drive, and especially by the braking. The team were great and worked professionally and I am very happy with the overall organisation of the day. "
Weather conditions: Generally cloudy with sunny spells, rain on Thursday afternoon Track conditions: Mainly dry, wet track on Thursday afternoon
Indianapolis is the next destination for the Panasonic Toyota Racing team as the 2002 FIA Formula 1 World Championship enters the final two races of the season. Free Practice for the United States Grand Prix begins on Friday 27 September.
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