Although Rubens Barrichello's presence naturally scooped most of the attention, more than a dozen IZOD IndyCar Series drivers took to Sebring International Raceway's 1.67-mile short course this week to test the new Dallara DW12 chassis and the 2.2-liter, turbocharged V6 engines from Chevrolet, Honda and Lotus.
Oriol Servia, driving the Lotus car for the first time – Lotus teams have not yet received their individual engines – put in 135 laps over the two days.
"It has been awesome to finally get a taste of the car for ourselves after hearing comments on it from all of the other drivers and teams," said Servia, who signed with Lotus DRR (formerly Dreyer & Reinbold Racing) two weeks ago. "I really liked it. We were able to get a good feel of the Lotus engine and the Dallara.
"The first day we didn't get to do what we wanted because the engine got held in customs and that didn't help. However, on the second day we did lots of laps and we got a lot of data so we were able to do a number of things with the engine and the car. We learned a lot, which is what you want."
E.J. Viso also got seat time in KV Racing's No. 5 Chevrolet-powered car, after Barrichello switched to Kanaan's No. 11 (see separate story).
“These testing days at Sebring have been very successful for the KV Racing Technology team," Viso said. "I think we have found some solutions and new options for running this new chassis, which has definitely been a big challenge for all the teams. However, I am impressed with the performance we have been able to get out of this car. Having such an experienced driver as Rubens is definitely giving us a few tips.”
The Chevrolet and Honda teams were less forthcoming, although James Hinchcliffe sounded an optimistic note on Twitter after getting his first crack at an Andretti Autosport Chevy-powered DW12 (ABOVE).
"Good first crack at the DW12. Very different from the old girl, but she sure has potential," Hinchcliffe tweeted. "Can't wait to see her in GoDaddy colors!"
Private development of the new cars and engines will continue throughout the month ahead of the official Open Test at Sebring for all teams that will be split into two groups, March 5-6 and 8-9.