The Verizon IndyCar Series is still a few weeks away from the next race, but there will be plenty of on-track action next week on the west coast. At least six IndyCar teams will be testing at Sonoma on August 13, which involves many drivers. The test will give teams and drivers a chance to get familiar with the 2.385-mile, 12-turn road course for the season-ending race on August 30th. The test will be open to the public, free of charge.
Rule 6.2.3 of the 2015 rulebook allows teams to have two additional test days for the purpose of testing a current Indy Lights driver. The on-track time may be split with an IndyCar driver, so long as they don’t use more than half of the available track time. Because of this, at least seven up-and-coming drivers will get a chance to get behind the wheel of an IndyCar.
The teams and drivers they will be testing with are listed below.
- Team Penske – Juan Pablo Montoya, Will Power (Spencer Pigot, Nelson Piquet Jr.)
- Chip Ganassi Racing – Scott Dixon (Sean Rayhall)
- Andretti Autosport – Marco Andretti (Matthew Brabham)
- Rahal Letterman Lanigan – Graham Rahal (Ed Jones)
- KVSH Racing – Sebastien Bourdais (Ryan Phinny)
- Schmidt Peterson Motorsports – Ryan Briscoe (Jack Harvey)
It’s also possible that two others could join the festivities next Thursday. Per Curt Cavin, Max Chilton could test for AJ Foyt Racing, and according to Marshall Pruett, Jonathan Summerton could find himself a seat. Summerton has been involved in many different types of racing, with dreams and aspirations of reaching the Verizon IndyCar Series. The American driver said it would be a “last minute deal” if it happened, but that they’re also talking to a couple of different teams about participating in the test.
News has also come about that former IndyCar driver Mikhail Aleshin will be driving a third SPM car in the season-finale at Sonoma. Aleshin will join everyone else at Sonoma, after IndyCar granted him a refresher test. This will be his first time back in an IndyCar since he suffered a concussion, chest injuries, fractured ribs, and a broken shoulder in a practice crash at Fontana nearly one year ago. Aleshin will drive the No. 77 car for SPM, alongside Ryan Briscoe and James Jakes.
Indy Lights is the third and final step on the Mazda Road to Indy driver and team development ladder. The Indy Lights champion is awarded a $750,000 scholarship toward the Verizon IndyCar Series with three guaranteed races, including the Indianapolis 500, in 2016.