Justin begins preparations for Indianapolis 500 Justin and twelve other Indianapolis 500 rookies will take their first laps around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway on 4th and 5th May when they participate in the event's Rookie...
Justin begins preparations for Indianapolis 500
Justin and twelve other Indianapolis 500 rookies will take their first laps around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway on 4th and 5th May when they participate in the event's Rookie Orientation Program. The ROP involves four phases of 10 laps each at increasing speeds and gives rookies and those drivers taking refresher courses two days to learn the intricacies of the track before it opens to all drivers. Stretching beyond that are two weeks of practice and multiple qualifying events and, for those who make it onto the 33 car grid, the race itself on 25th May.
The Indianapolis 500 will be Justin's second time at the Speedway, but his first around the famous oval. He competed in the USGP in 2003 with Jaguar, where he earned his first Formula One point, and he hopes to become only the fourth driver to run in the "500" as well as the USGP. Justin still remembers the excitement of that first visit.
"There was a great deal of anticipation of going there and seeing the place," he recalls. "You've heard so many things about it, you want to go and see it for yourself. You don't realize how big everything is until you get there. That pit complex, the size of the grandstands - it's like two walls on either side of the track."
For a driver whose whole racing career has revolved around two and three day racing weekends, the month-long preparation for the race is a completely new experience.
"I'm going into the month of May with no expectations," said Justin. "I want to work it out myself, find my feet and hopefully things will be good for the McDonald's team. If you have too many expectations it can cloud your vision, so I will take it as it comes. I'm looking forward to my first time around the Indianapolis oval and getting to experience what the car is like with low downforce around such a large circuit. It will be interesting to see how we compare. Hopefully we can learn throughout the rookie test and get up to speed the right way and feel comfortable. There are a lot more cars this year so we want to make sure we do everything right and take it day by day."