While drivers and teams in the three Mazda Road to Indy divisions were busy testing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, at least one IZOD IndyCar Series team awoke from its slumber for the first time since the Auto Club Speedway season finale last month.
Chip Ganassi Racing's confirmed trio for next year of Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti and Charlie Kimball spent Thursday at the Milwaukee Mile fine-tuning setup on a windy day in West Allis. Dixon summed up the day rather succinctly on Twitter saying “Turning left…” while Franchitti admitted the setup found Thursday would still be close to what it will be like when the series races there June 14-15, 2013.
“I don't think we'll tune the car, as in have a car that we can come back here and stick this setup on it come the race here in June,” Franchitti told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Dave Kallmann. “But what we can do is learn when we do X to the car what the result is. We still don't know this car very well.”
Speaking to RACER.com Thursday, Novo Nordisk CGR's Kimball largely echoed those sentiments, mainly giving thanks that a Thursday in October in Wisconsin was even viable for one of the series' all-too-few allotted test days.
“We had a couple goals to meet after the race in June,” he explained. “We had some objectives to make some progress on. It went pretty well. Fortunate with the weather; coming to Wisconsin in October, you're not sure if you'll get ice or a 65 and sunny day. We got the most out of today; we ended up going reasonably quick for the conditions. We covered a lot of ground and we can feel confident in the car for June next year.”
The grip levels, he said, were all but naught for a track that rarely gets much running after the IndyCar weekend.
“It wasn't great – I don't think anyone's done any serious running since June,” he said. “There were pretty big dust trails. We got a little bit of rubber down, but we didn't do a huge amount. It's still relevant and you learn things. Having those two to learn from, they're the benchmark around this place. So it was nice having the extra set of data.”
With the second Ganassi squad in flux until a replacement for Graham Rahal is determined, Kimball made the most of maximizing the opportunity as the lone understudy to his teammates.
“I don't know that the dynamic's changed,” he said. “They've sort of continued their opportunities for me to learn from them. With three of us, there's a little less going on, so we all have a better handle on what we're all doing. Overall, I don't think it changed a huge amount.”
Kimball said the team's second test day will occur in two weeks. He didn't have a chance to test until after mid-January last year, when the team received its first batch of Dallara DW12 chassis.