Eleven drivers will test revised oval aero (seen LEFT, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway) at Texas Motor Speedway on Monday prior Indianapolis 500 rookie orientation later in the week. The test follows a test in February that established the aerodynamic baseline for the new Dallara DW12 on the 1.5-mile, high-banked Texas oval, which plays host to the IndyCar Series next month with the June 9 Firestone 550.
The 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Open Test, which precedes by five days before the opening of practice for the Indianapolis 500, will be open to the public free of charge.
"We're going to Texas to confirm that the aero spec that we laid down is correct," IndyCar vp of technology Will Phillips said. "We made a commitment that we would run cars at Texas in a small number and go back to run the cars in as big a group as possible prior to racing there. It will also give us an insight into Indianapolis."
Participants in Monday's test include:
• A.J. Foyt Racing's Mike Conway and Wade Cunningham
• Ed Carpenter Racing's Ed Carpenter
• KV Racing Technology's Rubens Barrichello
• Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing's Charlie Kimball
• Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing's Graham Rahal
• Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti
• Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe, Helio Castroneves, Will Power
For the February test, Dallara-provided aero pieces for the production cars of Tony Kanaan and Briscoe that were tested in the full-scale wind tunnel a month earlier. The production cars were slightly different from the prototype that was evaluated on the Homestead-Miami Speedway, Auto Club Speedway, Iowa Speedway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway ovals in autumn (different mirrors, different rear wheel fairings, subtle differences in chassis construction and better integration of the Zylon side intrusion panels). From data and driver feedback from the February test, Dallara has made refinements that has produced qualifying event records at all four race venues and exciting racing.
"We were able to work on the balance of the car while we were there and got it to where it felt really solid," said Briscoe. "We've had very limited oval track time in general, so it will be a good pre-Indy test as well. It's a good chance to run together and see what we've got."
Cunningham, the 2005 Firestone Indy Lights champion who competed in the twin races at Texas Motor Speedway last June, will split time in the No. 14 ABC Supply car with full-time driver Conway while his No. 41 ECat/ABC Supply car is prepped for his first Indy 500.
"We haven't been on a mile and a half yet so we want to experience that and get on an oval before Indy starts up," team director Larry Foyt said. "We'll give Wade some time in the new car to get comfortable and familiar with it before he starts ROP (Indy's Rookie Orientation Program, which starts May 10)."
The Open Test will be preceded on Sunday by Barrichello taking his IZOD IndyCar Series oval test. The Brazilian also will participate in the ROP.