Several drivers in the NTT IndyCar Series hit the pavement on Tuesday, as testing continues for the upcoming season.
Five teams (AJ Foyt Racing, Dale Coyne Racing, Ed Carpenter Racing, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, and Team Penske) all made the trip to Barber Motorsports Park for what was supposed to be a Monday test but was pushed to Tuesday because of rain. The weather was nearly perfect today as 12 drivers participated on the 2.38-mile, 17-turn road course.
Sebastien Bourdais, Dalton Kellett, Romain Grosjean, Ed Jones, Conor Daly, Rinus VeeKay, Graham Rahal, Takuma Sato, Scott McLaughlin, Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, and Will Power all tested on Tuesday. For most of these drivers, it was a return to the familiar cockpit. For Coyne’s two drivers, it was all about getting comfortable. The last time Jones drove an IndyCar was the season finale in 2019 at Laguna Seca.
Grosjean turned his first laps in an IndyCar after nine years in Formula One. The popular german will be driving the No. 51 Dale Coyne Racing with RWR Honda in all of the road and street course events this season. It was the first time he had been in a car since he escaped a fiery crash in the opening lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix last November.
It was a rough start to the day for Grosjean, who spun off course early in the test. Fortunately, the team was able to get the car back on track so that their day could continue. “I made a mistake this morning, and I spun,” Grosjean said. “I was stuck in the gravel. The track has consequences, and you need to stay within the limits, which I always quite enjoy.”
Grosjean rebounded nicely and was within one second of the leader by the end of the day. VeeKay was the fastest of the 12 drivers, putting in a best lap of 66.518 seconds. Bourdais was second-fastest in his No. 14 Foyt machine. Rahal put in the most laps (141 total) of any driver on Tuesday and was third-fastest at the conclusion of the test.
Power and Daly rounded out the top five on Tuesday, with the other three Penske drivers (Newgarden, McLaughlin, Pagenaud) behind them. Kellett, Jones, Sato, and Grosjean rounding out the rest of the field.
Despite not having any on-track action on Monday, there was still some news from a couple of teams regarding the upcoming season prior to today’s test. Jimmie Johnson revealed the livery on his No. 48 Chip Ganassi Honda for most of the season. Johnson helped design the Carvana Racing livery and the colors work really well together.
Last week the RLL Racing team announced Takuma Sato’s livery for the Indy 500 with PeopleReady, who return after his monumental victory last August. Yesterday the team showed off Sato’s car with primary sponsorship from Digital Ally Inc, which will run in five races this season. Arrow McLaren SP are preparing to unveil their Chevrolet machines on Friday, and Conor Daly will reveal his livery with ECR on Friday as well.
Barber will host the season-opening race on April 18, which is less than two months away. More testing is on the horizon, including a two-day test on April 8-9 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.
Photos courtesy of IndyCar