Looking to put the negativity of its acrimonious split with Katherine Legge last week behind it, Dragon Racing got a head start on this week's IZOD IndyCar Series testing at Sebring International Raceway as team leader Sebastien Bourdais began tuning the first of the team's two Chevrolet-powered Dallara DW12 entries. New driver Sebastian Saavedra was on hand for the Monday action (LEFT) and is expected to get his first run for the team later today.
The action gets heavier on Tuesday and Wednesday with multiple teams scheduled to take part in tests on the Florida road course, including AJ Allmendinger's tryout with Team Penske. Interviewed by SPEED Center Sunday night, Allmendinger indicated he was both excited and apprehensive about the opportunity ahead of him.
“I'm so excited for it – to be back with Mr. Penske and the whole Penske organization," Allmendinger told SPEED. "I'm so grateful to have this chance to get in one of his Indy cars. I'm also nervous. It's been seven years – 2006 was the last time I was in an open-wheel racecar. The cars have changed a lot but I know I'll have the best team to learn from.
“Between Helio Castroneves and Will Power, I've got two of the best guys to learn from. They've already been helping me just kind of go through the racecar and learn what it's about, look at the data, video, notes, so I'll be well prepared. I know Sebring pretty well from my days back testing a Champ Car there, but I'm excited. I'm ready to go.”
Asked about his expectations for what might come out of the test, Allmendinger made clear that he is open to a potential future in IndyCar.
“Well, the sky's the limit. You never know with Roger Penske," he said. "But just really focused on this test, see how it goes, see kind of where it could lead to. I hope to be able to make it through a race and then go run the Indy 500 … that really all starts with this test and kind of seeing how that goes and seeing how things progress from there.”