Marco Andretti topped the two-hour morning session in IndyCar’s Open Test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, setting a 223.997mph best, while three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves returned to IMS action.
In the first multi-car test at IMS of the new-for-2018 spec aerokits, Andretti tripped the speed traps (with a tow) at 233.100mph to wind up 0.6mph faster than Sato. The Japanese driver won the race last year as Andretti’s teammate but now competes for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
Scott Dixon, 2008 Indy winner, was third fastest for Chip Ganassi Racing, completing a Honda 1-2-3. Fastest Chevrolet representative was the Harding Racing entry of Gabby Chaves, who finished ninth on the team’s IndyCar debut at IMS last year.
A late run with a tow from Penske’s Will Power saw 2014 Indy winner Ryan Hunter-Reay make it two Andretti cars in the top five, with the second RLLR car of Graham Rahal sixth fastest.
Two-time Indy polesitter Ed Carpenter was seventh in his own ECR-Chevy, with eighth placed Ed Jones the last of the drivers to breach the 222mph barrier, driving the second Ganassi entry.
Fastest Penske driver was Simon Pagenaud in 10th place, while teammate, series returnee Castroneves was 15th, ahead of his other colleagues, Josef Newgarden and Will Power. The latter two were the hardest-working of the drivers, running 36 and 39 laps respectively.
The only drivers whose best speeds were below 220mph were the Carlin-Chevy pair, Max Chilton and Charlie Kimball, both of whom led the Indy 500 last year for Ganassi. Now driving for a team whose only previous IMS experience was in Indy Lights, the pair nevertheless clocked 218+ mph laps.