In 2001 the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) were in the fourth year of their agreement with primary sponsor FedEx.
The series was called the CART FedEx Championship.
The twenty-one race season kicked off on March 11th in Monterrey, Mexico, and ended at Fontana, California, on November 4th. Along with North America stops, the series visited Mexico, Japan, Germany, England and Australia.
The two chassis suppliers in 2001 were Reynard and Lola. The Reynard 01i was a popular choice, with many teams also relying on the new Lola B1/100 and last year’s B2K/00.
Engines were available from Honda (Honda HR-1), Ford (Ford-Cosworth XF) and Toyota (Toyota RV8E). All motors were built to similar specifications – fuel-injected turbocharged eight-cylinders with an aluminum engine block and DOHC cylinder heads. The 161.7-cu.in. engine use methanol racing fuel, producing approximately 800-horsepower.
All cars competed on Firestone tires.
In addition to the Driver’s Championship, there are also awards for the Nation’s Cup, Chassis Constructor’s Cup and Engine Manufacturer’s Cup. Finally, for the crews, there was the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge.
Round nine of the twenty-one CART FedEx Championship season, was conducted at Toronto’s Exhibition Place, which was the series sixteenth annual visit to the track. The ninety-five lap contest around the eleven turn 1.755-mile temporary street circuit was called the Molson Indy.
|Michael Andretti had little reason to be optimistic about scoring his seventh victory at Toronto after qualifying in the thirteenth spot. On the opening lap, Andretti had contact with Scott Dixon at the end of Lakeshore Boulevard. The incident placed him at the rear of the field. The team laid out a new race strategy and Andretti began moving forward. By lap-71, he was in the lead and collected his first win of the 2001 season.|
|Three Canadians entered in the event and it was second-year CART competitor Alex Tagliani who earned the best finish with a runner-up result. It was also his highest CART FedEx finish. Tagliani, driving the No. 33 Forsythe Racing Reynard 01i / Ford Cosworth XF qualified fifth fastest, his best performance of the year. Conserving fuel at the end of the race, he finished 2.741-seconds behind Andretti.|
|Adrian Fernandez earned his first CART FedEx victory in 1996 at Toronto with Tasman Motorsports. Last year, Fernandez had his best season, finishing second in the title chase. In 2001, he formed his own team called Fernandez Racing. Heading into Toronto, his best result was a fifth at The Milwaukee Mile. In qualifying, Fernandez set the seventh time and benefited from attrition to grab the final spot on the podium.|
|The reigning CART FedEx series champion, was Team Penske’s, Gil de Ferran. De Ferran was having a challenge attempting to defend his title. At Toronto, he topped the timesheets in practice and again in qualifying. Piloting the No. 1 Marlboro sponsored Reynard 01i / Honda HR-1, de Ferran grabbed the lead heading into the first turn. After running first for most of the race, he collided with Cristiano da Matta and retired.|
|Helio Castroneves drove the No. 3 Marlboro Reynard 01i / Honda HR-1. Unlike his teammate, Gil de Ferran, he had victories at Long Beach and Detroit and was second in the standings. At Toronto, Castroneves qualified next to the pole-sitter, de Ferran. He led a total of fifteen laps before the Honda engine failed. Castroneves was relegated to a nineteenth place finish and lost a position in the standings.|
|The points leader entering round nine was Kenny Brack. Brack had amassed an impressive record in the first half of the season, four podium results, of which three were victories. In the qualifying session at Toronto, he turned the third-fastest time. During the race, he was in contention when a battery issue caused him to retire on lap-63. Brack still led the championship, but Michael Andretti was within eleven points.|
|Dario Franchitti joined Team Green in 1998; the following season, he finished second in the championship, collecting one of his wins in Toronto. This year he was driving the No. 27 Reynard 01i / Honda HR-1. Franchitti was victorious in the previous round at Cleveland, but Toronto would be an event that he would sooner forget. After starting sixth, he retired on lap-31 with an oil pressure problem.|
|After winning the CART FedEx crown in 1997 and 1998, Alex Zanardi left Ganassi Racing for Formula 1. The change was frustrating and he returned to the series in 2001 with Mo Nunn Racing driving the No. 66 Reynard 01i / Honda HR-1. The weekend in Toronto did not start well as he crashed in the second practice session and qualified twenty-fourth. In the race, Zanardi charged through the field and finished fourth.|
|1||13||Michael Andretti||Reynard 01i / Honda HR-1||95||-|
|2||5||Alex Tagliani||Reynard 01i / Ford Cosworth XF||95||-|
|3||7||Adrian Fernandez||Reynard 01i / Honda HR-1||95||-|
|4||24||Alex Zanardi||Reynard 01i / Honda HR-1||95||-|
|5||10||Scott Dixon||Reynard 01i / Toyota RV8E||95||-|
|6||8||Paul Tracy||Reynard 01i / Honda HR-1||95||-|
|7||19||Mauricio Gugelmin||Reynard 01i / Toyota RV8E||95||-|
|8||21||Max Papis||Lola B1/00 / Ford Cosworth XF||95||-|
|9||26||Shinji Nakano||Reynard 01i / Honda HR-1||95||-|
|10||4||Tony Kanaan||Reynard 01i / Honda HR-1||94||Fuel|
|11||9||Roberto Moreno||Reynard 01i / Toyota RV8E||94||-|
|12||14||Christian Fittipaldi||Lola B1/00 / Toyota RV8E||93||-|
|13||20||Bruno Junqueira||Lola B1/00 / Toyota RV8E||77||Accident|
|14||1||Gil de Ferran||Reynard 01i / Honda HR-1||112||Accident|
|15||17||Cristiano da Matta||Lola B1/00 / Toyota RV8E||76||Accident|
|16||18||Michel Jourdain, Jr.||Lola B1/00 / Ford Cosworth XF||76||Accident|
|17||23||Memo Gidley||Lola B1/00 / Toyota RV8E||71||Accident|
|18||15||Bryan Herta||Reynard 01i / Ford Cosworth XF||67||Electrical|
|19||2||Helio Castroneves||Reynard 01i / Honda HR-1||66||Engine|
|20||3||Kenny Brack||Lola B1/00 / Ford Cosworth XF||61||Engine|
|21||12||Patrick Carpentier||Reynard 01i / Ford Cosworth XF||52||Accident|
|22||22||Tora Takagi||Reynard 01i / Toyota RV8E||46||Accident|
|23||11||Oriol Servia||Lola B1/00 / Ford Cosworth XF||40||Accident|
|24||6||Dario Franchitti||Reynard 01i / Honda HR-1||31||Engine|
|25||25||Max Wilson||Lola B2K/00 / Ford Cosworth XF||31||Accident|
|26||16||Jimmy Vasser||Reynard 01i / Toyota RV8E||4||Accident|
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