SEBRING, Fla. (Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013) - Eleven IndyCar Series drivers representing seven teams got a jump on the 2014 season with a two-day test Dec. 18-19 at Sebring International Raceway.

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, Andretti Autosport, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, A.J. Foyt Racing, Dale Coyne Racing and Ed Carpenter Racing tested on the track as teams continued their 2014 preparations.

"It's nice to get a couple days (of testing in), keep everyone flowing well and get the guys back out here working together," said Josef Newgarden, who enters his third season with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing. "I think it keeps everyone on their toes throughout the offseason.

"I think there's a chance to get a little out of rhythm if you're off the track for too long. Even for me as a driver, it's great to be back behind the wheel for a couple of days. It keeps you fresh and keeps your brain thinking over the holidays."

Several of the Honda teams spent their time developing the twin-turbocharged engines that the manufacturer will use in 2014. Andretti Autosport driver James Hinchcliffe got his first taste of a Honda-powered car since the team announced it would be switching to the supplier for the 2014 season. In fact, the outing was his first in an Indy car since the series finale at Auto Club Speedway Oct. 19.

"It seems like Fontana was forever ago," Hinchcliffe said. "To get to run in the car is great and especially to get a first taste of the Honda power. It's an exciting new chapter for us, getting to work with (the Honda Performance Development) guys and building some new relationships and learning as much as we can about this new engine."

Also testing throughout the day was new series addition Mikhail Aleshin in the No. 55 SMP Racing entry. The 26-year-old Russian ran many laps with teammate Simon Pagenaud also testing in the No. 77 car.

"It's very important through the winter season to be able to use the test days to experience things we wouldn't do during the race weekend," Pagenaud said. "There are a lot of items, a lot of experimental things we want to try and hopefully understand what direction they could take us and apply it to the race car in the future."

Takuma Sato tested his A.J. Foyt Racing car one day after the announcement that he would return to the team for the 2014 season. 2012 Pro Mazda champion and 2013 Indy Lights race winner Jack Hawksworth participated in his second IndyCar test, this time with Dale Coyne Racing.

Mike Conway, who will compete with Ed Carpenter Racing on road/street courses next season, tested the No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka entry for the team, with team owner/driver Ed Carpenter in attendance as well.

Test quotebook:

Simon Pagenaud (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports): "You get a month break between tests, so it's good to get back in the race car. It's very important through the winter season to be able to use the test days to experience things we wouldn't do during the race weekend. There are a lot of items, a lot of experimental things we want to try and hopefully understand what direction they could take us and apply it to the race car in the future. The whole goal is to have more performance out of the race car and make it easier for me to extract the best out of it."

Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing): "It's another chance for (race engineer) Bill (Pappas) and I to work together. His setups are far different from what we've run before, so we're working toward the goal of finding more speed and the ultimate goal of winning races. I think we've already highlighted issues that we had last year. We have a long list of items that we want to try, and with two days here we'll get a chance. With Honda, we're running the single turbo today and the twin turbo (Dec. 19) and just help them develop."

James Hinchcliffe (Andretti Autosport): "Any morning is a good morning when you get to spend it in an Indy car. It's great to be back. It seems like Fontana was forever ago. To get to run in the car is great and especially to get a first taste of the Honda power. It's an exciting new chapter for us, getting to work with (the Honda Performance Development) guys and building some new relationships and learning as much as we can about this new engine." (Can you feel the differences in the engines?): "It's surprising how different they are. It's really cool to see how the two manufacturers approach things and solutions to certain problems that everyone is going to have. It was a cool experience. For a driver, being part of development is a lot of fun. Having spent two years with Chevy, we have some insight that we can bring to the table and we're obviously learning a lot from the Honda guys as well. Hopefully, pooling all that knowledge together, we can build a good product for the race season."

Josef Newgarden (Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing): "These couple of days before Christmas is great for everyone because it's just a refresher. It doesn't let anyone get too complacent. Everyone is going to need a break here soon. It's good to have the holidays coking up. It's nice to get a couple days (of testing in), keep everyone flowing well and get the guys back out here working together. I think it keeps everyone on their toes throughout the offseason. I think there's a chance to get a little out of rhythm if you're off the track for too long. Even for me as a driver, it's great to be back behind the wheel for a couple of days. It keeps you fresh and keeps your brain thinking over the holidays. Over Christmas, I'll be thinking of ways to improve as we go into January and February. It's fun too. I'm enjoying the hell out of it."

Takuma Sato (A.J. Foyt Racing): "To me, it's almost like the beginning of 2014 preparations. It's good to be back in the car. After Fontana, it's really a long break. I had a lot of events back in Japan, but it's nice to be back in the Indy car. Today for me and for A.J. Foyt Racing, it's our first day with the new Honda twin turbo engine. I've only done a few laps with it in the morning, but I had a good, positive taste of it. Hopefully, this afternoon we can get more miles on it and get prepared for 2014."

INDYCAR