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IndyCar Road America

IndyCars could smash Road America track records this weekend

The decades-old IndyCar qualifying and race track records at Road America could be broken this weekend, as the freshy-repaved track hosts America’s premier open-wheel series.

Dario Franchitti

The iconic 4.048-mile road course was repaved in October and November last year, for the first time since 1995.

MotoAmerica was the first major series to visit the Wisconsin venue recently, and Ducati’s Josh Herrin set pole position in 2m09.111s to smash Jake Gagne’s track record of 2m10.617s by over 1.5s.

And with the far larger contact patch of the wide slick IndyCar tires, testing times have already been within reach of the long-standing lap records.

The IndyCar pole track record here is held by Dario Franchitti, who lapped his Reynard-Honda 2KI – which boasted almost 1000bhp in qualifying trim – in 1m39.866s in 2000, while Alex Zanardi (Reynard-Honda 98i) holds the race lap record of 1m41.874s set in 1998.

Although last year’s IndyCar pole time was Alexander Rossi’s 1m44.8656 for Andretti Autosport. Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward lapped in 1m40.72s in testing last week – already well under that race lap-record pace. 

Alex Zanardi, Chip Ganassi Racing, Reynard 98i Honda

Alex Zanardi, Chip Ganassi Racing, Reynard 98i Honda

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Pole record-holder Franchitti admitted to Motorsport.com this week that he expects his qualifying record is likely to fall, given that the softer alternate tires will be in play and that the track’s surface is now much smoother than before.

Track president Mike Kertscher said of the repave: “I'm going to predict 2023 will be the year some records fall. We're very happy with how it turned out.”

Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta believes that the repave should also help with overtaking opportunities with the extra grip available.

“Road America is an awesome track,” he said. “With it being repaved, there is a brand-new dynamic to it.

“The repaved track is going to add to some adjustments and it’s going to be a lot faster with more grip from the track sealant. There might be some better overtaking opportunities than we’ve seen in prior years.”

Despite the smoother surface, Scott McLaughlin suffered a huge scare in testing when his Team Penske car was launched by a speed bump at the end of curb at Turn 1.

 

He later tweeted: “Back is fine. Very lucky. Finished the day off, we had a great day. But I know INDYCAR officials are already making sure that’s gone for race weekend!”

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