The 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series officially opened Friday on the downtown harbor front streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, with a pair of practice sessions in advance of Sunday’s Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Takuma Sato, A.J. Foyt Racing
Takuma Sato, A.J. Foyt Racing

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

A.J. Foyt Racing’s Takuma Sato led the dozen Honda-powered competitors on Friday, with a best lap of 1:01.7703 around the 1.8-mile temporary street circuit, just 33 hundredths of a second off the day’s quickest time, set by Will Power of Team Penske.

Activities continue on Saturday with a final practice session, followed by “knockout” qualifying that will set the 25-car field for Sunday’s 110-lap race. Ten laps longer than in previous years, the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will start at 12:30 p.m. EDT, with live television coverage on the NBC Sports Network.

Takuma Sato (Driver, #14 A.J. Foyt Racing Honda Dallara): fifth-quickest in Friday’s practice sessions at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg: "It was a very productive day for us. In the first session this morning, the car was a little bit outside of the balance that we wanted, but we made a good improvement over the lunch break and the car felt much better in the afternoon.

The Honda engine felt quite good. We worked a lot on the mapping in the winter tests, and I can feel the engine is more powerful compared to last year. We tested a couple of things and got some good information, so hopefully we can make another step forward tomorrow.”

A.J. Foyt Racing