While one of the expected Champ Car converts has confirmed that it is ready to take part in the first specially-organised 'transition' tests laid on by the Indy Racing League ahead of the season-opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway, another has admitted that it will not be ready for Sebring this week.

Kevin Kalkhoven's KV Racing Technology has confirmed that both Oriol Servia and recently-signed Team Australia driver Will Power will be on track at the Florida airfield circuit, but the team that most expect to lead the opposition to the IndyCar regulars, Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, has said that it is not yet ready to participate.

After the 27 February announcement of unity, NHLR switched its focus to preparing for the IndyCar Series but, having only taken delivery of the first two Dallara-Hondas on 3 March, have run out of time to join its rivals on track this week.

"Despite the best efforts of Dallara and the IndyCar Series, we still don't have all the parts necessary to be ready in time to test in Sebring," general manager Brian Lisles explained, "It is a big disappointment for the team, and an enormous setback because we will be losing valuable track time that will be difficult to recover. The team continues to work hard to complete the cars in time for the Homestead test on 24-25 March."

NHLR has confirmed that it will continue to run already-signed Champ Car duo Justin Wilson and Graham Rahal in the unified series, and both drivers have expressed their disappointment at missing a rare opportunity to try the Dallara-Honda combination ahead of the season.

"I was looking forward to trying out the Dallara for the first time and making some progress on our 2008 season," Wilson admitted, "The circumstances have come about that we won't be able to make it and I know the team will use the extra time wisely.

"They said, right from the start, that they will not put out a car that is not up to their usual high standard of preparation. It is reassuring for me to know that I will have a reliable car, especially given the commitment necessary to compete on some of these high-speed tracks."

Power and Servia, meanwhile, will get their first taste of the IndyCar package with two days of testing today and tomorrow [19-20 March] after KV Racing Technology worked around the clock to have two cars ready for the Sebring session.

"All credit has to go to the crew guys because it is an absolutely outstanding effort to be able to get two cars together in such a short space of time," Power said, "The test is going to be all about shaking the car down, learning what the Dallara is like to drive, how it reacts to certain things and, for me personally, working hard at getting to know all the team at KV Racing Technology. I think I owe them all a dinner already."

Power is enthusiastic about the first test at Sebring, and keen to move on to the second session, under lights on the Homestead oval.

"That will be a very important test, and a chance to learn a lot for the first race of the season," the Australian commented, "The priority will be to build up confidence, get up to speed and keep the car straight, because the more track time you have the more you will learn.

"The second race of the season is a week later at St Pete, and it is the test this week at Sebring that will give us some good information for that street course event. Once we get on top of the car at the Sebring test, we will be tuning it more to suit the St Pete street circuit rather than trying to find a good set-up for Sebring itself."

KV co-owner Jimmy Vasser was also keen to pay tribute to the workforce that has managed to fettle two cars in time for Sebring.

"I want to congratulate [general manager] Mark Johnson, [team manager] David Brzozowski, the engineering staff and the entire crew on the job they have done getting these cars ready to test," Vasser said, "We haven't had a lot of time to prepare, but the entire team has worked flat out, around the clock, seven day a week, just to get prepared for this first test at Sebring. This is a huge undertaking and, while we are still behind some of the established teams, everything that can be done to this point has been done and I just want to say how proud I am of the entire team.

"I also want to acknowledge, and thank, Target Chip Ganassi Racing. They have really been great as far as helping us get ready, and have made it apparent that getting our team up to speed as fast as possible is what is best for the series. We appreciate all their support."

 

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