Team Penske's Helio Castroneves joined the ranks of the left-foot brakers to accommodate the pedal arrangement of the new Dallara DW12 IndyCar during this week's two-day test session at Sebring International Raceway.
Accustomed to right-foot braking his entire career, the Brazilian has changed that because the new DW12 chassis has two pedals instead of three (third for clutch). For 2012, the clutch joins the paddle shift system on the steering wheel.
"It will take some time to adapt, but that's why we're out here testing," Castroneves told IndyCar.com. "Actually, it's kind of fun; like go-karts. The only car I drove [with left-foot braking] was in a Formula 1 test in 2002."
The three-time Indianapolis 500 champion was joined during the two-day session on Sebring's 1.7-mile short course by teammates Ryan Briscoe and Will Power, JR Hildebrand, Scott Dixon, Graham Rahal, Tony Kanaan, E.J. Viso, Marco Andretti, Simon Pagenaud, and Simona de Silvestro. He said he went into the tests with an open mind, despite the negative comments about the new car coming out of preliminary tests.
"I didn't know much about it, just hearing other driver comments," Castroneves said of the DW12. "Everything that's new goes through a change, and you have to find the best balance. That's what makes the team – the engineers and drivers becoming a good connection. I'm happy that we're having more tests [than in recent years] before the first race. It helps in development, to understand the car and what needs to be done. I think right now we're in the right direction.
"It was great for me to start develop an engine. Some teams will go a little bit faster; sometimes it will be your turn to go a little faster. One manufacturer pushes another and that's what will create exciting competition."