The 2019 IndyCar season is still nearly five months away, but preparations for a few teams began today. The new venue on next year’s schedule is Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas. Three teams participated in a Firestone Tire test on the 20-turn, 3.427-mile circuit. Alexander Rossi tested for Andretti Autosport, Tony Kanaan was there for AJ Foyt Racing, and according to RACER, RC Enerson was testing in a Carlin Racing machine.
The three drivers put in nearly 100 laps each on Monday, as they tested a variety of tire compounds and turbo boost levels. IndyCar, the teams, and drivers all agreed not to disclose any lap times from today’s testing session.
Team owner Trevor Carlin told Motorsport.com that they were testing with a possible full-time third entry for next season, though he didn’t mention Enerson by name. Carlin also mentioned that Charlie Kimball’s contract for next season is “all but done” to return to the No. 23 car. Next year would be the 9th full-time season for Kimball.
Rossi told Motorsport.com that he had a big smile on his face today. “It’s challenging, it’s technical, but there’s also a lot of high-speed corners. It’s a perfect circuit for us. I can tell you that our car around that track is awesome!”
The NAPA Racing driver said they did not work on drafting or using the push-to-pass boost, as they were just providing information for Firestone. “I literally didn’t see the other two all day when I was out on track,” he said. “COTA is a strong addition to the IndyCar schedule, and I think we’ll put on a good show for the fans, I really do.”
Andretti engineer Jeremy Milless told RACER they were working on tires and setup today. “The primary focus today was on the primary tire, so there’s a second or more coming from the tires, and everyone was one practice power, so I would say we’ll be at least two seconds quicker when we come back, but I’m not worried about it.”
“The track was awesome. It’s a proper race track, and the facility is beautiful,” Kanaan told RACER. “It’s a mix of Road America, Laguna Seca, and a little bit of Sonoma. We did more than 100 laps and it was badass.”
The race at COTA next season will be the second on the schedule, scheduled for March 24. The track features an elevation change of 133 feet, with Turn 1 being the highest point of the circuit.
Photos courtesy of IndyCar