IPS: IRL: New flexible testing program for 2006

IRL INTRODUCES REDUCED, MORE FLEXIBLE TESTING IN 2006 WITH OPPORTUNITY FOR BONUS TEAM TEST DAYS INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2005 -- Giving its teams more flexibility to choose when and where they test, the Indy Racing League will eliminate...

IRL INTRODUCES REDUCED, MORE FLEXIBLE TESTING IN 2006 WITH OPPORTUNITY FOR BONUS TEAM TEST DAYS

INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2005 -- Giving its teams more flexibility to choose when and where they test, the Indy Racing League will eliminate its restriction on team testing in the IRL IndyCar® Series beginning Jan. 1, 2006.

Under the new testing policy, each IndyCar Series team will be allowed a maximum of three private testing days. In order to level the playing field, teams with more than one IndyCar Series entry will be counted as a single entrant and limited to three testing days.

The new testing policy reduces testing to eight days from 12 in 2005.

"By allowing our teams to test, we place the value of testing back in the hands of our teams," IRL President and Chief Operating Officer Brian Barnhart said. "The teams have the flexibility to choose when and where they test, which will help maintain the competitive balance of the IndyCar Series as well as allow them to contain the costs of racing by reducing the number of testing days we will have in 2006."

The new policy also includes a provision that will aid in the development of drivers from the IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series. Full-time IndyCar Series entrants that also field full-time entries in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series can earn up to three additional testing days for each Menards Infiniti Pro Series car, up to a maximum of two Menards Infiniti Pro Series cars.

For every four Menards Infiniti Pro Series races a team participates in, the team will receive one bonus test day for the IndyCar Series car. The Menards Infiniti Pro Series driver must be in the car for at least half of the bonus test day.

"The bonus testing program benefits the IndyCar Series driver and the Menards Infiniti Pro Series driver," Barnhart said. "The Menards Infiniti Pro Series driver gets the opportunity to gain valuable seat time in an IndyCar Series car and get additional feedback from the team."

In addition to the private tests, the Indy Racing League, which has sanctioned Open Tests since the fall of 1995, will sanction Open Tests for the IndyCar Series on the road course (2 days) and oval (1 day) at Homestead-Miami Speedway (March 1-6) and Richmond International Raceway (June 22). The Richmond test will be the first Open Test held in conjunction with a race event weekend.

Engine manufacturers Honda and Toyota will be allowed a single day of manufacturer testing for full-time teams that use their engines.

Under the 2006 testing rules, the private tests, bonus tests and engine manufacturer tests can take place at any IRL-approved facility except the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Since 2004, teams have not been allowed to conduct private tests as testing has been limited to Indy Racing League-sanctioned Open Tests and three engine manufacturer test days.

The Menards Infiniti Pro Series will offer teams five Open Test dates -- Homestead-Miami road course (March 4), Homestead-Miami oval (March 6), Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval and The Milwaukee Mile (June 14). Menards Infiniti Pro Series teams will be permitted five private test days in 2006, an increase from four in 2005.

The IRL IndyCar Series opens the 2006 season with the Toyota Indy 300 on March 26, 2006 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be broadcast live on ABC Sports and the IMS Radio Network. The fifth season of Menards Infiniti Pro Series competition also opens on March 26 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

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Series IndyCar , Indy Lights