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How Nigel Mansell prepped for his first CART Indy car test with a white Cadillac rental car

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It’s funny how sometimes, when you’re looking up something, you stumble across something entirely different that immediately grabs your attention because of its unique subject matter.

Such was the case Thursday afternoon. While looking up something else about IndyCar racing, we ran across an online story by Road & Track magazine (RoadandTrack.com) that we had never heard of before.

The well-written story by Travis Okulski was about former Formula One and CART champion Nigel Mansell and his first test in an Indy car on January 4, 1993 at the former Firebird International Raceway (now Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park) in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

Before we talk more about the test, the only reason Mansell crossed the Atlantic to come race in America was because his ride with Williams in Formula One went away after 1992, even though Mansell captured the F1 championship that same season.

Without an available F1 ride, Mansell came to the U.S., when ironically, just as 1991 CART champ Michael Andretti moved to F1 to race for McLaren. In a sense, Mansell became the de facto replacement for the younger Andretti with the Newman Haas Racing squad.

Getting back to the CART test at Firebird:

Now, a test is usually a test, no matter what type of motorsport you’re in. But Mansell’s first effort in an Indy car had the kind of back story that would definitely qualify for the late Paul Harvey’s “Now You Know The Rest Of The Story” radio series.

You see, and as Okulski so aptly described, Mansell prepared for his first run in an Indy car by taking to the 1.6-mile road course first not in an open-wheeler, but in an all-white 1993 Cadillac rental car – at a time when Cadillacs were more like four-wheeled boats and not the much more nimble rides they’ve since become.

Mansell took a couple laps around in the Caddy before climbing into the Indy car. It didn’t take long before the Englishman broke Firebird’s single-lap record.

Beginner’s luck? No, rather, a great skill that would ultimately pay off later that 16-race season with five wins – plus a third-place finish in the 1993 Indianapolis 500 – as well as 10 podiums, six poles and capped off with the CART championship.

Unfortunately, Mansell’s tenure in CART was short-lived. After his great rookie campaign, he struggled in his sophomore season, failing to win a race, earning just three podiums and three poles. The 1994 season would be his second and last in CART before he returned home to his native England.

Here’s a video about Mansell’s initial CART foray – including his run in the Caddy – you definitely want to check out.

Click here to read Okulski’s story.

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Keating stripped of Le Mans GTE-Am win; No. 68 Ganassi entry also disqualified

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FIA stewards announced Monday that two Ford GT entries have been disqualified from this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, including the GTE-Am class-winning No. 85 entry from privateer Keating Motorsports.

Also DQ’d was the factory No. 68 Chip Ganassi Racing entry of Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais, which initially finished fourth in the GTE-Pro class.

Both entries were found in violation of fuel capacity regulations, with the No. 85 entry also failing to meet the minimum refueling time during pit stops.

The refueling system on the No. 85 entry, driven by Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga, measured a time of 44.4 seconds during a stop, just shy of the minimum required time of 45 seconds.

As a result, the team was initially issued a 55.2-second post-race penalty by officials, which elevated the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR of Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey, and Egidio Perfetti to the class win.

The time penalty was calculated by the difference in the refueling time (0.6 seconds) multiplied by the amount of pit stops made by the team (23), then multiplied by four.

The No. 85 entry was set to finish second in class, but then received an outright DQ after its fuel capacity was also revealed to be 0.1 liters above the maximum permitted capacity of 96 liters.

As for Ganassi’s No. 68 entry, it was found to have a fuel capacity of 97.83 liters, which is above the maximum allowed capacity of 97 liters for the GTE-Pro Fords.

The No. 67 Ford of Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell, and Jonathan Bomarito subsequently moves up to fourth, and the No. 69 Ford of Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook moves up to fifth.

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