The Verizon IndyCar Series is back in full swing, as the Open Test at ISM Raceway (Phoenix) saw 23 cars on track today for Day 1 of testing. The 1.022-mile oval is the stage for the two-day test, which allows engineers and mechanics getting familiar with the new universal aero kit. Takuma Sato was the fastest in the first session, posting a lap at 187.022 mph in his No. 30 RLL Racing Honda. Last year’s Phoenix race winner Simon Pagenaud was just behind him in second.
Sato was second fastest in the evening session, trailing only his teammate Graham Rahal, who had a lap at 189.090 mph. For not having any prior testing, the RLL team seams to have figured something out. There were a total of 3,264 laps run on Friday, with most of the action coming under the lights, which is when the race will be run on April 7. The day ended with only one minor incident, as Rookie Matheus Leist lost control of his AJ Foyt Racing machine in Turn 2.
Yesterday was all about the Rookies, as they had the track to themselves to lay down some laps. Leist led the way with a fast lap of 184.236 mph in his No. 4 Chevrolet. Pietro Fittipaldi was just behind him in his Dale Coyne Racing machine, followed by Robert Wickens, Spencer Pigot, Zach Veach, Kyle Kaiser, and Gabby Chaves.
Friday Combined Session Results
The defending Indianapolis 500 winner was satisfied with their progress on Friday. “No surprises,” he said of the initial short oval experience in the new car. “As expected, there was a huge amount of reduction of the downforce. It felt like qualifying trim already. We’re never going to be able to go flat in both ends, that’s a definite challenge. Tire degradation is key, too, because there is more. That makes the race fun but I think it’s going to be very challenging, for sure.”
There were quite a few sponsorship items announced today as well. Both RLL and Andretti unveiled a couple of new partners for the upcoming season for Graham and Marco. It has been an outstanding week of sponsorship announcements throughout the paddock, from nearly every team.
Several liveries have been unveiled for the coming season, from various teams and drivers. They look good, and seem to be very distinguishable from one another, which is ideal. Conor Daly was at Phoenix, and told Motorsport.com that he is aiming for a fourth Coyne seat for the Indianapolis 500 in May.
Tomorrow’s schedule will be the same as today, with testing running from 3-6 and 8-11 PM ET. All sessions will stream live on racecontrol.indycar.com, with free admission and a driver autograph session between the two sessions.
Below are some photos from Phoenix, courtesy of IndyCar.