The opening test of the season, and first official test with the Chevrolet and Honda aero kits at Barber has ended its first session of a two-day test.
The talking points of the session was the speed of the Chevrolet cars, namely Simon Pagenaud who topped the times in the opening session with his new Team Penske squad.
Pagenaud called the new aero configuration impressive and more physical to drive adding that it will reward the driver who works hardest in the cockpit.
“It’s quite impressive to drive actually. First thing this morning the track was cool and the car already felt really good. Barber is a beautiful track for an aero kit of this level because it is flowing and has high-speed corners, and you’re carrying a lot of downforce so the car is really hooked up to the track," Pagenaud said.
"It’s a lot more physical than it already was, so that will be a challenge. But it’s fun and now we’re learning a lot of things for the race. It’s interesting to try different items on the race car to know what to use for the race.”
Not too far behind Pagenaud was Carpenter Fisher Hartman Racing driver also in a Chevrolet, Josef Newgarden. Newgarden was able to turn a time for third fastest this morning and echoed Pagenaud's comments on the car.
"It’s definitely more physical; the back of my neck is sore," said Newgarden.
"The very first tire run there was a lot of grip on the track, but as the day is getting warmer there’s less grip. The braking capacity of the car is much higher. Referencing the (track) markers, I’d say you cut off about 30 per cent of the brake zone, so it’s pretty significant on brakes.”
Ganassi driver Sage Karam's day was very short lived as on his third circuit he crashed his car at high speed in turn 14. The driver would be ok, but will certainly be sidelined for the rest of the two-day test.