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IndyCar Texas

Dixon: High hopes for better racing at Texas and Sato as team-mate

Scott Dixon believes IndyCar’s new aerodynamic regulations will improve racing at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend, and is confident that Takuma Sato will contribute to Chip Ganassi Racing’s competitiveness.

Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

For the second round of the 2023 IndyCar Series season, and the Indianapolis 500, two-time Indy winner Sato is driving Ganassi’s #11 entry, which is raced on road and street courses by series rookie Marcus Armstrong. Six-time IndyCar champion Dixon says he is looking forward to working with the Japanese veteran.

“Obviously I’ve raced Taku for many years but never been on the same team,” he said. “We've also had our comings together – in Texas it's happened a few times! Hopefully the first rule of Chip's – don't hit your team-mate – hopefully that plays strong!

“I'm looking forward to it. He's a super-talented guy. He's super-intense. I think his knowledge and what he does, just his approach, too, from what I've already seen, he's pretty full on.

“That attention to detail, the experience that he has from other teams but also at this circuit is going to be really good. I'd like to think that he's going to do extremely well.”

Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Photo by: Phillip Abbott / Motorsport Images

Regarding the aero configuration changes for TMS (and Indy) announced last month, Dixon was fulsome in his praise of what the series is trying to achieve. At Texas, the underwing sidewall has been made optional but there are also new optional flap wickers available to attach to the top surface trailing edge of the underwing.

IndyCar is also allowing a new additional underwing inner bargeboard and the use of road and street course strakes at all ovals, while the Speedway infill wicker is also permitted at Texas and Indy.

“This year the NTT IndyCar Series has done a good job of bringing some updated aero pieces which I think will definitely tighten the pack and allow for some side-by-side racing,” said Dixon who is a five-time winner at Texas Motor Speedway.

“I think the addition of the “high-line practice” will give everybody at least some idea of what that grip level is like… It's definitely a pretty big adjustment as far as adding downforce to the car for the race.

“I think the combination of the additional aero, it's going to be pretty cold, too, which will help [and] … the high line practice [and] of maybe not having a fresh amount of whatever the NASCAR surface stuff [PJ1] is on top will definitely change it as well. All of those should make the second lane a little more usable, which will definitely tighten up the pack, and ultimately make it a lot more racy for everybody.

“I think for the drivers you just hope it doesn't become a pack race [but] I don't think it's going to be that extreme.”

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