Following a week and a half of grief, sadness, mourning and celebration of the late Dan Wheldon, it was back to business Wednesday at Sebring International Raceway for the next phase of testing the next generation 2012 Dallara IndyCar.
Dario Franchitti, who admitted having a heavy heart and said he would rather be miles away, took over duties testing Honda's car. Ryan Hunter-Reay turned his first laps in the Chevrolet car on a road course after participating in demonstration laps at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Several drivers are expected to pass through either of the two manufacturers' entries from this point, in the testing phase that runs almost weekly through mid-December. Franchitti and Scott Dixon will run most of Honda's testing with Chevrolet splitting its time between Hunter-Reay and Tony Kanaan in the immediate future.
Both Will Power and JR Hildebrand – Chevrolet drivers for 2012 – are recovering from injuries sustained in the 15-car accident that took Wheldon's life.
IndyCar director of engine development Trevor Knowles told IndyCar.com the entire car was the focus, from refining the chassis and adapting to the new engines.
“Even when the manufacturer testing finishes it won't be the final product,” Knowles said. “It will be close to it, but there will be refinements to make and they'll be working with their teams in the early part of next year.”
Earlier this week, Dallara announced it will name the 2012 IndyCar the DW12, in honor of Wheldon – the car's primary test driver since its on-track introduction.