Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing is the latest team to hit the track with its new DW12, with Bobby Rahal's team opting for Barber Motorsports Park as its location of relaunch.
Takuma Sato, RLL's first confirmed driver, was behind the wheel of the team's No. 15 Honda-powered entry. Sato has been linked to having sponsorship from Panasonic, although that has not been officially confirmed. Mi-Jack, the company of RLL co-owner Mike Lanigan, adorned the sidepod for the car's first run.
In addition, Italian driver Luca Filippi (LEFT) is on hand at Barber. Filippi, 26, has been linked to Rahal's second car but wasn't listed to test by IndyCar as of Monday afternoon. Filippi set the career record for starts in the GP2 Series from 2006 through 2011 with 107, and finished second in the 2011 series championship. He recorded five career victories.
By day's end, Sato finished his first full track day with the team with 38 laps completed and a fastest lap only one tenth of a second off the 2011 pole time at Barber.
“It was a good start, especially since it was our very first day,” said Sato. “It was nice to see all the boys and engineers and run through the things we prepared over the winter. Although it was a little bit of a slow start since the car was just shook down but I think that is natural. I am pleased to see the car runs straight away and we were able to check that every function is working. Barber is a very challenging track. Although I had a taste of the 2012 car at Sebring in December, there are quite different characteristics on this circuit. It seems that we adapted quickly and I am happy with the basic setup. There is a lot of work to do but we will go over the data tonight and continue to work on it tomorrow.”
Overall, Team Penske's Will Power set the fastest unofficial lap on Monday at 1:11.2. Power also holds the official IndyCar lap record for the track of 1:10.106, set in 2010.
A busy testing period for the series will also see teams in action at the Texas and Phoenix ovals, and Sebring and Infineon road courses this week. Ganassi's four cars, two from Dale Coyne (Justin Wilson and James Jakes), and a single apiece from A.J. Foyt and Sam Schmidt join Rahal at the Barber test from Honda, along with Helio Castroneves and Will Power in the Team Penske Chevrolets.