ST. PETERSBURG, FL -- MARCH 23, 2012 -- KV Racing Technology drivers Tony Kanaan. E. J. Viso, and Rubens Barrichello were eighth, 20th and 23rd respectively on the speed charts after the first day of practice for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, to be held Sunday, March 27, on the streets of St. Petersburg, FL.
Kanaan, behind the wheel of the No. 11 GEICO | MOUSER ELECTRONICS – KV Racing Technology w/ SH Chevrolet/Firestone car, recorded a lap of 62.4814 seconds (103.711 mph).on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit. Viso piloted the No. 5 CITGO | PDVSA – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone machine, to a quick time of 62.9857 seconds (102.880 mph), while Barrichello, driving the No. 8 BMC | EMBRASE – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone entry, posted a fast lap of 63.3290 seconds (102.323 mph). All three drivers ran their fastest laps during the second of two practices today.
Kanaan, the 2004 IndyCar Series champion, is contesting his 15th U.S. based open-wheel season, 11th in the IZOD IndyCar Series and second with KVRT. The 37-year-old Brazilian is making his eighth appearance at St. Petersburg. In seven previous races, Kanaan has qualified in the top-six all but once taking the pole in 2008. He has finished in the top-10 every year, the top-five all but once, on the podium five times with a best finish of second in 2005.
“It was an interesting day,” Kanaan said. “We tried a lot of new things to make the car better. It was a typical first race of the year, but with a new car, new engine and new team. It is the same name, but a lot of new people, so everybody is getting used to everything. At least for me, it was a positive day and we can use the good things that I did to help my teammates and then tomorrow we can put the three cars in the top-10.”
Viso, who is coming off a victory last weekend in the Prototype Challenge class in the 12 Hours of Sebring, is entering his fifth IZOD IndyCar Series season and third with KV Racing Technology. The 27-year-old Venezuelan is making his fifth appearance in St. Petersburg. In four previous races here he has qualified in the top-10 once, a ninth in 2010 and finished in the top-five once, a career street/road course best fourth in 2008 in just his second IndyCar start.
Commenting on his day, Viso said, “The first day of practice in St. Petersburg is always nice and refreshing. I ran some laps in this beautiful place. The morning session went pretty well. Then in the afternoon we tried some things with the car that didn’t work out the way we hoped, but at least we know what direction to go in for tomorrow.”
Barrichello is competing in his first IndyCar race after spending the last 19 years establishing himself as one of the top drivers in Formula One. The 39-year-old Brazilian, who signed with the team on March 1, has been impressive in pre-season testing.
“With the problem we had this morning, it was pretty much a setback,” Barrichello said. “I spent the afternoon session learning the track, while everyone else was now improving their cars. I was playing catch up big time that’s for sure. Hopefully tomorrow I can improve a little more from today.”
KV Racing Technology was founded in January 2003 and joined the IndyCar Series in 2008. The Indianapolis based team is owned by successful venture capitalist Kevin Kalkhoven and 1996 IndyCar Champion Jimmy Vasser. Veteran Motorsports manager, Mark Johnson is the team’s General Manager. Johnson is assisted by Team Manager Tom Wurtz, Technical Director Eric Cowdin and Operations Manager Steve Moore.
In this morning’s first practice, Viso logged the team’s fastest lap with a time of 63.9142 seconds (101.386 mph) good for 12th on the speed charts. Kanaan was 18th on the practice report with a lap of 64.1404 seconds (101.028 mph) and Barrichello, who ran just eight laps due to a mechanical problem, was 24th at 65.6681seconds (98.678 mph).
The 2012 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be broadcast live on ABC beginning at 12:30 p.m. (ET).
For more information about KV Racing Technology visit: www.kvracingtechnology.com or follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/kvracing and Facebook: www.facebook.com/kvracingtechnology