Chaves thrilled with Harding Racing’s first roadcourse test
Verizon IndyCar Series returnee Gabby Chaves says the team’s first test on a roadcourse went “as well as we could have hoped” after its new chassis made its debut at Sonoma Raceway.
The 24-year-old Colombian won the 2014 Indy Lights title and performed well in his first season of IndyCar with Bryan Herta Autosport, but was left without a ride when BHA merged with Andretti Autosport. A part-time ride with Dale Coyne Racing followed in 2016, but last year Chaves joined the new Harding Racing outfit for three races. Both he and the team impressed with ninth at Indy and fifth at Texas.
With the team committing to a one-car fulltime entry for 2018, Harding today got its first roadcourse miles under its wheels during a 12-car IndyCar test at Sonoma Raceway.
“It feels fantastic to be back, and with a team with a lot of commitment, a lot of drive,” Chaves told Motorsport.com. “It felt great to be back into that rhythm.
“And for a first day on a roadcourse, I honestly think it went as well as we could have hoped. Very few bugs to deal with, plenty of laps. That’s really good because this isn’t the same chassis we ran in those three races last year – this was brand new. So that says a lot about the team’s preparation. So I’m very happy.”
Chaves briefly brought out a red flag with a spin-and-stall at the downhill Turn 3b, explaining: “I was on new tires and I just lost it, but thankfully didn’t touch anything. A momentary lapse of talent! I tell you, you get excited when you see the sticker tires go on…”
Regarding the car’s handling characteristics with the new aerokit and differences to the old car, Chaves said: “I’m a firm believer that the best drivers can drive the heck out of anything. So it’s up to me, and hopefully with the right work done by our team, I can be one of those guys.
“I enjoy the car, I think you have to work a bit more and that’s something that’s always more enjoyable. It takes me back to the roots of racing, which is karting. Honestly, I’m having a blast.”
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