POWER FASTEST ON OPENING DAY AT INDIANAPOLIS Will Power has made the perfect start to his month of May by setting the fastest time on Opening Day for the 92nd Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiana today. The Australian...
POWER FASTEST ON OPENING DAY AT INDIANAPOLIS
Will Power has made the perfect start to his month of May by setting the fastest time on Opening Day for the 92nd Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiana today.
The Australian was the fastest of 13 cars present today for the first of two days of Rookie Orientation at the 2.5-mile speedway, setting a time of 40.7804 seconds at an average speed of 220.694mph (355.173km.h) in the #8 Aussie Vineyards -- Team Australia Honda/Dallara/Firestone.
The priority for Power and the #8 Aussie Vineyards -- Team Australia crew today was to complete the Indy 500 Rookie Orientation Program, which requires first year drivers wishing to contest the Indianapolis 500 to compete four phases.
Drivers must turn 10 laps at each of 200-205 mph, 205-210 mph, 210-215 mph and 215+ mph. The first three phases must be completed on the first two days the track is open while the fourth phase may be completed during practice later in the month.
Both Power and his KV Racing Technology team-mate Oriol Servia completed all four phases on the first day, which allows them an unrestricted day of practice on day two tomorrow with a limited number of cars on track.
With only rookie drivers on track for the first two days of practice, experienced teams and drivers will have their first day on track on Tuesday. A total of 13 drivers were required to compete rookie orientation, including the two KVRT drivers, a total of 10 did so today.
Power, who is making his first appearance on a super-speedway oval, completed his rookie orientation just before 4:30pm local time (US Eastern).
The 27-year-old was the first car on track on Opening Day today in what is the first Indianapolis 500 since the unification of Champ Car and the Indy Racing League earlier this year. Power was also the last car on track, setting today's fastest time in his final run for the day.
Power, who hails from Toowoomba in Queensland, ran the most laps of any driver today making 94 circuits around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis oval in what is an encouraging sign as the Australian ace aims to get up to speed at the ultra-fast venue.
WHAT THE TEAM HAD TO SAY --
Will Power - #8 Aussie Vineyards - Team Australia Honda/Dallara/Firestone
"We were first out and last in, so it was a good day," said Power.
"Initially when I went out I thought, 'How the hell do you go flat here?' But we crept up to it. We had a pretty safe and stable car there at the end, it was pretty solid.
"I was happy to get flat all the way around because that takes you to the next level and now we start trimming out. We did plenty of mileage because we're a bit wary of what the weather's going to be like later in the week, so I'm very happy for the Aussie Vineyards team."
"You run a little downforce to make the car safe to begin with. Obviously the track's a little dusty and we're rookies and a rookie team as well. At the end of the day it makes the car more settled and plus, when you're going quicker there's more downforce, so it makes the car feel nice and solid and consistent throughout the corner.
"Now the challenge is to start heading toward 225 mph, you do that by trimming the car out, that's when the driving really comes in and you've got to be smart with the set-up. You don't want the car to bite you and end up in the wall, it's going to cost you a lot of time."
"The KV Racing Technology team wanted to get in as many laps as possible today, which is what we achieved. To be quick today means we are gradually getting there and I was able to go flat the whole way.
"I felt really comfortable with the Aussie Vineyards -- Team Australia car and once I was able to go flat, the car felt better and I was able to start letting some of the front wing out.
"The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is something I have never driven on and I found it unique because it was so fast. It's not really like an oval because of its four corners and flat banking, but almost a mixture between a banked oval and a road course.
"It was something more than I had expected -- daunting, and as far as ovals go, its more technical and therefore you can't make a mistake."
Craig Gore - Aussie Vineyards - Team Australia
"What a great start to the month of May for Will and the entire Aussie Vineyards - Team Australia crew," said Gore.
"This is day one of a long month of running, but it's always a big confidence boost to get off to a great start and today Will did exactly that.
"It's nice to be top of the timesheets on the first day, but it's still early days.
"This is a terrific way to start what is an historic month for the Team Australia program. We are extremely excited to be at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and this is the perfect way to start our attempt to qualify for our first Indy 500."
-credit: kvt/team australia