The season-opening race for the NTT IndyCar series is still 12 weeks away, but cars will be on track today and tomorrow at Sebring International Raceway as teams try to get a jump on the 2021 campaign. There will be six teams testing on the short-layout course over the two days, in addition to some IMSA sportscar testing on the other side of the track.
It will be a busy 48 hours for Chip Ganassi Racing, who will have five total cars on track. On the IndyCar side of things, all four of their drivers (Scott Dixon, Marcus Ericsson, Alex Palou, and Jimmie Johnson) will hit the track. The team’s new Cadillac DPi-V.R program will hit the ground running ahead of the Roar Before The 24 at Daytona. That will be led by Kevin Magnussen and Renger van der Zande, with Dixon in line to join the team in the Rolex 24 at the end of the month.
Andretti Autosport has been in the news recently with the return of Ryan Hunter-Reay and the departure of Marco Andretti, who is taking a step back from full-time competition this year. Marco will still race in the Indianapolis 500 and will be on hand to help with testing. The team’s current full-time drivers (Colton Herta, Alexander Rossi, Hunter-Reay) will all hit the pavement on Tuesday, in what will be a busy day.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato will participate on Tuesday. Graham is a new father and just started a side venture with Ducati, while Sato is a two-time and the defending Indy 500 winner. AJ Foyt Racing will have both of their full-time drivers for this test. Sebastien Bourdais will drive today and Dalton Kellet will hit the track tomorrow. Meyer Shank Racing will have Jack Harvey in the car on Tuesday, and Carlin Racing will have Max Chilton testing in their Chevrolet.
Teams that will not be participating in the test include Arrow McLaren SP, Dale Coyne Racing, Ed Carpenter Racing, and Team Penske. The two big items remaining in Silly Season (aside from the expected James Hinchcliffe announcement) are the two Coyne cars. The team is close to announcing those deals, with former Formula One driver Romain Grosjean expected to be in one of those seats. The other car will likely come down to Pietro Fittipaldi, Charlie Kimball, and Ed Jones.
The 35th running of the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals wrapped up last night with Kyle Larson winning the event for the second year in a row. The Roar Before the 24 will take place next weekend down in Daytona. The Rolex 24 is the following weekend, with NASCAR taking over Daytona in early February. The 2021 motorsports calendar has some moving pieces again this year, but things are heating up already. The first race on the IndyCar schedule comes on April 11 at Barber Motorsports Park.
Photos courtesy of Chris Owens/IndyCar