KV Racing Technology driver Rubens Barrichello completed all three phases required by the Indianapolis 500 Rookie Orientation Program (ROP) today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Barrichello, who spent the last 19 years competing in Formula 1, is the only “rookie” to have won at the Brickyard, having taken the checkered flag here in the United States Grand Prix F1 race in 2002). The 39-year-old Brazilianis not considered a rookie in the IZOD IndyCar Series, but still keeps that appellation for Indy.
Barrichello passed Phase 1 of the ROP, running 10 laps at 200-205mph, Phase 2, 15 laps at 205–210mph and Phase 3, 15 laps at 210+ mph, making him eligible to participate in full practice which begins on Saturday. He was running on an oval for just the second time, following his participation in the IndyCar test at the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway earlier this week.
"I enjoyed today very much,” said Barrichello, who completed a total of 83 laps of the 2.5-mile speedway with a top speed of 214.083mph. “I want to thank IndyCar for having the ROP session. It allows you to progress gradually without too much pressure, so I was at ease with my car and the whole process. I have a great teacher in Tony [Kanaan] and the whole team seemed to be out here – even the mechanics and engineers from Tony and E.J. [Viso]'s car, so everyone was here to help me out. Overall, I had a very successful day and look forward to practice again on Saturday."
The fastest lap of ROP thus far has been run by James Jakes, at 218.268mph in his Dale Coyne Racing car.