Indy Racing League IndyCar Series Rookie Marco Andretti Tests for Bombardier Learjet 500k at Texas Motor Speedway FORT WORTH, Texas (Jan. 20, 2006) - Fast! That was Friday's initial impression of Texas Motor Speedway by 18-year-old Indy Racing...
Indy Racing League IndyCar Series Rookie Marco Andretti Tests for Bombardier Learjet 500k at Texas Motor Speedway
FORT WORTH, Texas (Jan. 20, 2006) - Fast! That was Friday's initial impression of Texas Motor Speedway by 18-year-old Indy Racing League IndyCar Series rookie Marco Andretti of Texas Motor Speedway. Andretti, the son of former Indy-car superstar Michael and grandson of racing legend Mario, took his first laps on a superspeedway since passing his rookie test last weekend at Sebring International Raceway in Florida.
"It was a pretty interesting first couple of laps," Andretti said following his morning session on the 1.5-mile oval. "We were moving pretty quickly for me. But after you get settled in the car, everything slows down and you get settled in. It is definitely going to be a lot of fun. This is all new to me. I ran Michigan [last year for a 40-lap test session], which is obviously half a mile longer and less banking. So you get a lot more of a feel at this track."
Andretti is making the leap to the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series after three years of racing in various formula series. Last season he competed in six events of the IRL Indy Pro Series, the league's feeder series, and posted three wins, five top-five finishes and three poles. This season he will run the No. 26 ArcaEx Honda for Andretti-Green Racing for a full IRL schedule, including a stop at Texas Motor Speedway on June 10 for the Bombardier Learjet 500k.
One of his early-season highlights will be the Indianapolis 500, where his father is planning to come out of retirement so the two can compete side by side for the first time.
"I can't really explain how it is going to be until it happens," Andretti said of the possibility of competing in the Indy 500 against his father. "It's going to be good fun for both of us. We are just going to hopefully push each other, not just him pushing me. By then, I should be well up to speed."
Andretti was dominant in the IRL Indy Pro Series last year, but is keenly aware that there are new elements of being in the IndyCar Series that will take some adjustment.
"Maybe it is just race traffic," Andretti said. "That is the only thing that I have not really practiced. Because in testing, we are able to do everything else rather than run with cars. But we have our first test next weekend at Phoenix and will see how it goes. I am adjusting quite well. As a race car driver you want the power. So that came with no problem. I think the biggest surprise for me was just the brakes and how good the car stops. I have not driven a race car that has the stopping power as good as these."
Andretti will team with former Bombardier Learjet 500k champion Tony Kanaan, Dario Franchitti, and Bryan Herta to form the four-car Andretti- Green Racing contingent in 2006. He actually tested the No. 11 Team 7- Eleven Honda of Kanaan during his visit to Texas Motor Speedway.
"I can't stress enough how my three teammates benefit me in my learning curve and just helping make it that much easier for me," Andretti said. "I don't have the oval experience, but if I am able to compare to these guys (teammates) and beat them, then I will be able to win races."