IndyCar - Sebring Spring Training Schedule Announced
Indianapolis, Mar. 2, 2012: Spring Training at Sebring officially kicks off 2012 season: Will Power is accustomed to spending more time on the road than at his North Carolina home, but not necessarily during the IZOD IndyCar Series off-season. However, with a new chassis and Chevrolet engine package to develop, the driver of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car has shuttled between Florida, Alabama and California the past seven weeks.
On-track testing for engine manufacturers Chevrolet, Honda and Lotus has been unlimited since mid-January, and each supplier of the 2.2-liter, turbocharged V-6 engines fueled with E85 has piled up miles on road courses such as Barber Motorsports Park and Infineon Raceway. Sebring International Raceway, which mimics temporary street courses on the schedule with bumpy patches and hard braking zones, has also been a busy winter venue.
On March 5-6 and 8-9, all IZOD IndyCar Series full-season competitors are expected to convene on the 1.67-mile, 11-turn Sebring short course for the series' first Open Test of the year. With the St. Petersburg, Long Beach and Sao Paulo (Brazil) street circuits comprising three of the first four events, track time at Sebring is invaluable.
The Open Test is open to the public each day (9 a.m.-5 p.m.). There is a $10 admission charge. Firestone Indy Lights will conduct an Open Test at the facility March 7.
"With the new car it's all about who gets on top of it the quickest," said Mike Conway, who enters his first season driving the No. 14 ABC Supply car for A.J. Foyt Racing. "We'll be working as well as we can with my engineers and the crew around me. Getting that jump at the beginning of the season will be key to the championship. No one really knows who has the upper hand, and no one really will know until qualifying for St. Pete."
Open Test by groups
Group 1 (9 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m. March 5-6):
No. 2 Ryan Briscoe (Team Penske) - Chevrolet
No. 3 Helio Castroneves (Team Penske) - Chevrolet
No. 6 Katherine Legge (Lotus Dragon Racing) - Lotus
No. 12 Will Power (Verizon Team Penske) -- Chevrolet
No. 18 James Jakes (Dale Coyne Racing) - Honda
No. 19 Justin Wilson (Dale Coyne Racing) - Honda
No. 26 Marco Andretti (Andretti Autosport) - Chevrolet
No. 27 James Hinchcliffe (Andretti Autosport) - Chevrolet
No. 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport) - Chevrolet
No. 77 Simon Pagenaud (Sam Schmidt Motorsports) - Honda
No. 78 Simona de Silvestro (Lotus HVM Racing) - Lotus
Group 2 (9 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m. March 8-9):
No. 4 JR Hildebrand (Panther Racing) - Chevrolet
No. 5 E.J. Viso (KV Racing Technology) - Chevrolet
No. 7 Sebastien Bourdais (Lotus Dragon Racing) - Lotus
No. 8 Rubens Barrichello (KV Racing Technology) - Chevrolet
No. 9 Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) - Honda
No. 10 Dario Franchitti (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) - Honda
No. 11 Tony Kanaan (KV Racing Technology) - Chevrolet
No. 14 Mike Conway (A.J. Foyt Racing) - Honda
No. 15 Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan) - Honda
No. 20 Ed Carpenter (Ed Carpenter Racing) - Chevrolet
No. 22 Oriol Servia (Lotus Dreyer & Reinbold Racing) - Lotus
No. 38 Graham Rahal (Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing) - Honda
No. 67 Josef Newgarden (Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing) - Honda
No. 77 Alex Tagliani (Team Barracuda - BHA) - Lotus
No. 83 Charlie Kimball (Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing) - Honda
INDYCAR president of competition Beaux Barfield announced that Simon Pagenaud, Katherine Legge and Josef Newgarden will be classified as rookies for the season. While Rubens Barrichello is not classified as a rookie, he will be a rookie for the Indianapolis 500.
"It's going to be very interesting and unknown until we do the first race and then we'll get an idea of which engine is the strongest on road courses," said Power, the series championship runner-up the past two seasons in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car. "And until we get to Indy no one is going to have an idea of what's the strongest engine on an oval."
A bit of the unknown stirs the competitors.
"It's an exciting time in INDYCAR to be able to develop these cars and engines, and now the manufacturer competition that we have really makes it than much more interesting and competitive," Andretti Autosport driver Ryan Hunter-Reay said.