While three IZOD IndyCar Series drivers tested on the Texas Motor Speedway oval on Tuesday, 11 more completing the final day of testing at the 2.3-mile Barber Motorsports Park road course on Tuesday. Chip Ganassi Racing's Graham Rahal reportedly posted the fastest lap of the day, at 1:09.96, with his Honda-powered DW12, ahead of the similar car of Ganassi teammate Scott Dixon.
"Overall, things are running really well and the Honda engine has been really good," Rahal told SPEED.com. "The car has a lot of grip and there's still a long way to go. The car's impressive. Over the past couple years, the times I'm running now here are way quicker [based on using similar tires].”
Rahal's fast lap completed a sweep by Honda-powered cars of the two-day test, as the full set of times from Monday revealed that A.J. Foyt Racing's Mike Conway (ABOVE), and not Team Penske's Will Power (Chevrolet), had actually set the pace on the opening day, with a 1:10.7 lap to Power's 1:11.4 around the 2.38-mile road course outside of Birmingham. Team director Larry Foyt was jubilant at he progress he felt his team had made.
“It was a lot of long nights of hard work to get ready for this test, as all the teams are trying to figure out this new car as quickly as they can," he said. "Our guys did a really good job as the ABC Supply car ran well all day. I love the communication going on right now between the driver and the engineers. Mike was really smart, pushed the car to where it needed to be but didn't go over that fine line. We made some good changes and learned a lot about the car.”
With the two days at Barber complete, teams now move on to the most popular winter testing venue – Sebring International Raceway – which Rahal Leterman Lanigan technical director Jay O'Connell explained is designed to provide data more relevnt for street races, like the season opener in St. Petersburg next month .
“We got a lot of running in – more today than yesterday – and we learned a lot about the car,” said O'Connell. “We tried different setup directions to see how sensitive the car is, because it's a new animal. The test here shows us that we are getting to understand the new car and we're looking forward to getting another two days in Sebring to keep learning and getting dialed in with a different setup. Barber was about working on road course setup and Sebring will be more about street course setup to get ready for the first race in St. Pete.”
“I am exceptionally pleased with the results,” added Tom Anderson, RLL's managing director of motorsport operations. “Obviously, putting a team together in seven weeks is not an easy task for anyone involved. Time schedules, having a new car this year, late parts delivery dates and etc. has put a lot of pressure on the guys. They worked a lot of hours last week so it has been challenging but they rose to the occasion.
"The pressure these guys are under will continue until St. Pete and Barber race because there is a big learning curve but everybody is having a good time. The chemistry is still building. Takuma [Sato] did an excellent job today and yesterday in dealing with the engineers for the first time. We're looking forward to getting to Sebring and some warmer weather."
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