Toyota-powered teams are showing early-season form in the IRL and on Wednesday, Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Tomas Scheckter set the second fastest time at Fontana.

Toyota-powered teams are showing early-season form in the IRL and on Wednesday, Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Tomas Scheckter set the second fastest time at Fontana in California.

Wednesday marked the first day of the IRL IndyCar series teams’ annual Test in the West.

Seven of the top 10 fastest times were set by cars with Toyota powerplants... In fact, competitors with a combination of Panoz G Force chassis, Toyota engines and Firestone tyres seized five of the top 10 spots overall.

Two of those competitors were 2001 Bombardier Rookie of the Year Felipe Giaffone and Capetonian IRL ace Tomas Scheckter.

Giaffone dominated testing on the two-mile oval, turning a fast lap of 31,8988 seconds (average speed of 363,251 km/h), in the Hollywood Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone fielded by Mo Nunn Racing.

"My car was very good from the outset, and I got a good slipstream tow on two occasions," Giaffone said. "Tony (Kanaan) gave me the first one, and Tomas (Scheckter) gave me the second one. The timing was just right; I had new tires, and I was lucky to have everyone in front of me, and I just happened to have a good lap."

Scheckter, 23, was second with a time of 32,2601 seconds (average speed of 359,183 km/h) in the Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone.

"Everything is going well," Scheckter said. "Felipe was consistently quick today, and we're just working different set-ups to make sure the car is good for the race later on this year."

The Dallara Honda Firestone package of IndyCar series newcomer Andretti Green Racing also was strong, taking the next two spots. Tony Kanaan was third and Dario Franchitti was fourth.

Gil de Ferran rounded out the top five at 32,3559 in the Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone.

Rounding out the top 10 were Scheckter’s New Zealander team-mate Scott Dixon, former F1 star Tora Takagi in the Pioneer Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone, A.J. Foyt IV in the Conseco Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone, two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. in the Corteco/Bryant Dallara/Toyota/Firestone and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves in the Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone.

Vitor Meira was the top Chevrolet-powered driver in 12th place with the Johns Manville Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone that he shared with Jaques Lazier. Two-time defending IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. was 13th in the Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone.

The IRL IndyCar series and Infiniti Pro series teams will now travel to the Test in the West at Phoenix Raceway at the weekend.

California Speedway Test in the West day 1 (unofficial):

Pos Driver Car Chassis/Engine Time

1 Felipe Giaffone Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Panoz GForce-Toyota 31,8988s

2 Tomas Scheckter Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz GForce-Toyota 32,2601s

3 Tony Kanaan Andretti Greeen Racing Dallara-Honda 32,3527s

4 Dario Franchitti Andretti Green Racing Dallara-Honda 32,3546s

5 Gil de Ferran Marlboro Team Penske Dallara-Toyota 32,3559s

6 Scott Dixon Target/Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz GForce-Toyota 32,4429s

7 Tora Takagi Pioneer/Mo Nunn Racing Panoz GForce-Toyota 32,4679s

8 Al Unser Jr Corteco/Kelley Dallara-Toyota 32,5747s

9 Helio Castroneves Marlboro Team Penske Dallara-Toyota 32,5779s

10 Kenny Brack Miller Lite/Pioneer Dallara-Honda 32,6351s

11 A.J. Foyt IV Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Panoz GForce-Toyota 32,7172s

12 Vitor Meira Johns Manville/Menards Dallara-Chevrolet 32,7189s

13 Sam Hornish Jr Pennzoil Panther Dallara-Chevrolet 32,7417s

14 Jaques Lazier Johns Manville/Menards Dallara-Chevrolet 32,8207s

15 Dan Wheldon Andretti Green Racing Dallara-Chevrolet 32,8473s

16 Eddie Cheever Jr Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara-Chevrolet 32,8831s

17 Scott Sharp Delphi Automotive Systems Dallara-Toyota 32,9059s

18 Roger Yasukawa Fernandez Racing Dallara-Honda 33,1316s

19 Robbie Buhl Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara-Chevrolet 33,3197s

20 Sarah Fisher Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara-Chevrolet 33,5278s
33,5278S

Original article from Car