First oval test of the year done

Verizon IndyCar Series had their first collective test of the year, prior to the 2018 season, being held at ISM Raceway, Phoenix, Arizona.

23 driver participated at the test, and the clocked more than 6000 laps on the 1,022 mile oval.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing was the fastest team in all 4 sessions. Takuma Sato were the fastest of the whole field, while his teammate Graham Rahal ended up 5th fastest.

Sebastien Bourdais, Dale Coyne Racing
Photo: /John Cote

It was a nice mix at the top regarding teams and engines.

Sato was the quickest driver for RLL, while Will Power for Team Penske was second fastest, followed by Tony Kanaan at AJ Foyt Racing, and the defending Champion Josef Newgarden at Team Penske.

That was a good mix of Honda and Chevrolet engines, opposite to the last few years, with Honda having the upper hand on the ovals – primarily due to their aero kits. That variable has been removed from the 2018 onwards, with all cars having to run the same configuration.

There was less than 0,2 of a second between the fastest driver Sato, and Sebastien Bourdais in 11th.

Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Windscreen test, Phoenix 2018
Photo: Jones

While Friday and Saturday had free running for all, the Thursday was primarily used for getting the IndyCar oval rookies up to speed. That was Matheus Leist, Pietro Fittipaldi, Robert Wickens, Zach Veach and Kyle Kaiser.

But the young lions were joined by an old wise owl on the track too.

Scott Dixon and Chip Ganassi Racing were out testing for the IndyCar series, with a prototype of the new windscreen, that had it’s first real life test.

IndyCar is working on protecting the drivers heads, to objects flying towards the cars , like we saw in the tragic accidents with Justin Wilson in IndyCar, and Henry Surtees in Formula 2. Formula 1 has chosen a different route with the Halo solution, while IndyCar believes that the windscreen is the right way to go.

It has been manufactured by the same material that is used on fighter jets, and will improve the safety significantly. As a bonus, it’s quite easy to retrofit onto the existing Dallara DW12 chassis.

The plan is to introduce the system for the 2019 season, with plenty of testing to be done throughout 2018.

The Verizon IndyCar Series 2018 season will start on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida on 11 March.

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