IndyCar drivers believe that lap times will continue to tumble at Edmonton this weekend after the field lopped a full two seconds off last year's pole time during the opening day of practice.
Takuma Sato took pole position last year with a lap of 1m18.5165s, however Simon Pagenaud was able to post a 1m16.5391s in Friday's opening session, and Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon improved that to 1m16.4920s in the afternoon. The New Zealander said that he expected the times to fall significantly further as the weekend progresses due to the new car and tires.
"The car has been a second or two quicker on the first day at a lot of places already, and the [street] tyre makes a big difference as well," he said. "You saw that in Indy Lights; they got a street tire there and they've improved their times quite a bit. But the last year first session was something like a 1m19s, and we're already into the 1m16s.
"I think it's going to be five or six seconds quicker. I think we'll definitely dip into the 1m15s."
Penske driver Helio Castroneves pointed to the effects of running turbo engines at a relatively high altitude – Edmonton is almost 2200 feet above sea level – as another factor.
"I think the turbos are improving [the times] because of the altitude," he said. "And the tires are making a big difference – there is a lot more grip. And the car feels a lot better in the high-speed corners. I think you're going to see a lot of people waste their push-to-pass right away [in the race]."