IndyCar - Day 1 Open Test Report
SEBRING, March 06, 2012: Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay led the opening day of the IZOD IndyCar Series' Open Test at Sebring International Racing
Hunter-Reay, driving the Chevrolet-powered No. 28 DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda car for Andretti Autosport, recorded the quickest time during the seven hours of track time with a lap of 52.5826 seconds. Helio Castroneves in the No. 3 Team Penske car was second (52.7092) and Simon Pagenaud in the Schmidt/Hamilton Motorsports car (52.7311) was third.
A total of 674 laps were collected without incident among the 10 drivers who recorded laps during the session.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 Andretti Autosport): "We're happy to be on track with all the IndyCars painted and starting our season. Everybody is making a lot of adjustments to their cars, and the car is a lot of fun. The car is a lot different with the carbon brakes, it being lighter and the power output with the Chevy twin turbo. The funny thing is if you didn't have any lap times you'd think you were two or three seconds a lap quicker just because of the power delivery of the turbo. When it gets going, it really sets you back in your seat. I think the lap times at St. Pete will be quicker, and this car will certainly go faster and faster as we develop it."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske): "Even though we don't race (at Sebring), it's good for Team Penske to have an understanding of what the car is going to do, what changes we need to make, plus it does not count against your test days or test program. Somehow the set up that we've developed here is one that works on most of the street courses. I think because this track has a variety of bumps, concrete, concrete with asphalt, so the only thing they don't have is the pit walls in the corner that are in the street course. I remember in the past that this course has always given an indication of a street course and that's what we're going to go with." (Does Chevrolet have an early advantage): "I don't know what other teams are going to be here or what they're doing. We just have to keep focusing on our job. We're just focusing on our jobs and not even looking at times. (t doesn't matter who it is, we just have to keep working and chipping away."
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt-Hamilton Motorsports): "It was a good day. We made quite a few changes getting ready for St. Petersburg with its low-grip conditions, which we had here today as well. We made some big steps forward. I'm very happy tonight. The Honda engine is really good. I'm improving every time I go out. The Schmidt-Hamilton Motorsports team is doing a great job and that's making me feel more and more confident. There are a lot of familiar faces in this team for me, so it already feels like home. That's one reason we are shining already on the track. We are on pace, and it's just a matter of fine tuning here and there."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 Andretti Autosport): "It was a good learning day and we got a lot accomplished in the second session. That's what these tests are for. I'm looking forward to tomorrow as we have a good baseline to work with. Ryan (Hunter-Reay) was obviously very quick, but we'll just keep working on all of the things we set out to test."
SIMONA DE SILVERSTRO (No. 78 Lotus-HVM Racing): "I think it was a difficult day for HVM Racing and for Lotus, but I hope we'll come back strong tomorrow. We have a lot of work ahead of us and we just need to go through the process. I think we see that we are a little bit behind, but if we keep improving, like we did at the last test, we should be fine for St. Pete."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske): "Any track time we get with these new cars is so valuable. Today was great for Team Penske. We had a trouble-free day and got through a couple of big-ticket list items that we wanted to do. I'm pretty happy, just looking forward to tomorrow. As we get closer to St. Pete, every piece of mileage that we get becomes even more important to us. It's crucial to have reliability, and we had that. We want to see more of that tomorrow." (How valuable are these two test days?): "It's very valuable. From getting used to all the new features of the car, from the (carbon) brakes to the clutch, and things like that we're going to have to get used to before the first race. I've been lucky to have a fair bit of testing over the last few months and I feel acclimatized to the car, but you can never have too much running time."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Team Penske): "We had a very good day with the Verizon Team Penske car and found some really good things. We didn't get to run at the end (of the session) there, but I was really happy actually. The times we were putting up on really old tires were really good." (How valuable are these two days): "I think every test is valuable, but we're at a point where we've narrowed it down to the configuration we are going to run. It's all about finding the little details now."
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing): "I think it's been a good day, we've learned a lot of things, made a lot of changes and making gains on the car. You have to remember, we are still in the very early stages with this car and there is a lot left to do in order to get where we want to be." (About handling of new car): "This car drives very differently than any other car I have ever driven. It has a lot of downforce so if you get the balance right, you can really carry a lot of speed through the corners, but since we are so new to the car, we are still trying to figure out how the changes affect the car in every situation."
JAMES JAKES (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing): "Considering that this was our first full day in the car, I think we had a pretty good day. We really just needed to get some miles on the car today and it really felt good. It was a full day of learning for me because this was my first time at Sebring and my first whole day in the car but i think we learned a lot. The Dale Coyne Racing guys did a great job with the car and I expect that we will have another one tomorrow."