Drivers have good testing day at Sonoma

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Track time at Sonoma beneficial to 10 drivers, six teams in preseason testing.

Ten driver-car combinations from six IZOD IndyCar Series teams completed a test Feb. 27 at Sonoma Raceway in advance of the first IZOD IndyCar Series Open Test on March 12-13 at Barber Motorsports Park. The season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is March 24.

Spectators were welcome to watch the morning and afternoon sessions and participate in a Q&A with drivers during the break.

J.R. Hildebrand, Panther Racing
J.R. Hildebrand, Panther Racing

Photo by: Brad Fox

"This is a great time of year to be out on track," said JR Hildebrand, driver of the No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing car and a resident of nearby Sausalito, Calif. "Run to run, morning to afternoon, things are much more consistent. Once you get into summer, that element changes. It's a very temperature-sensitive track. As far as the actual track conditions go, they are always a little bit different."

It was the initial on-track activity of the year for Hildebrand and Ed Carpenter Racing owner/driver Ed Carpenter.

Other participants included KV Racing Technology's Tony Kanaan and Simona de Silvestro, Panther Dreyer & Reinbold Racing's Oriol Servia, Dragon Racing's Sebastien Bourdais and Sebastian Saavedra, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports' Tristan Vautier, Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports' Simon Pagenaud, and Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport.

Tristan Vautier, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
Tristan Vautier, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

Photo by: Brad Fox

The 23-year-old Vautier continued to impress after successful tests at Sebring earlier this month. He found Sonoma's 2.3-mile, 12-turn road course to his liking.

"It was a good test, but it was different from Sebring," Vautier said. "We got a good lap at the end of the day, but I need to work on my consistency over the course of a stint. It was a positive experience, but I have a lot to learn."

IZOD IndyCar Series

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About this article
Series INDYCAR
Article type Testing report
Tags bourdais, california, carpenter, chevrolet, de silvestro, hildebrand, hond, hunter-reay, indycar, kanaas, pagenaud, saavedra, servia, sonoma, testing, vautier