BRISCOE LEADS OPENING DAY AT BARBER OPEN TEST BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010 - Team Penske teammates Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves topped the time sheets as IZOD IndyCar Series teams opened a two-day Open Test at Barber ...
BRISCOE LEADS OPENING DAY AT BARBER OPEN TEST
BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010 - Team Penske teammates Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves topped the time sheets as IZOD IndyCar Series teams opened a two-day Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park.
Briscoe toured the 2.3-mile road course in 1 minute, 10.5020 seconds (117.438 mph) in his No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, while Castroneves was just behind at 1:10.7146 (117.090 mph) in his No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone. Both laps were set in the afternoon session when the sun helped heat the track surface on an unseasonably chilly day at the picturesque road course.
The third Team Penske member - Will Power in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car - was fourth quick (1:10.7637). Scott Dixon, the 2009 championship runner-up, was fifth (1:10.8927). Justin Wilson, driving the No. 22 Z-Line Designs car for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing for the first time, slid into third on the chart with a lap of 1:10.7397.
Twenty cars piled on 1,025 laps, with a second day of testing scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. (local time) Feb. 25.
DAY 1 NOTEBOOK:
Panther Racing and driver Dan Wheldon decided to forgo this week's IZOD IndyCar Series Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park and instead test at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla., due to the cooler than expected temperatures.
Panther Racing Chief Engineer David Cripps explained the decision to test in Sebring, saying, "The inclement weather that's being predicted for Barber, is not really going to be conducive to what we had planned for our test for São Paolo. Our current setup is based on warmer environments in São Paolo, Long Beach, and St. Pete, and Barber's not going to present that for us. We felt it would be more advantageous to get to Sebring and a warmer climate. Hopefully, Sebring will be more advantageous for our preparation."
Also skipping the test due to the forecast was first-year IZOD IndyCar Series entrant Fazzt Race Team with driver Alex Tagliani.
FAZZT Race Team General Manager Rob Edwards elaborated on the decision saying, "We are in the fortunate position of having had very successful tests at Homestead and Sebring in January. Since those tests, our engineers have continued testing on the seven-post rig, gearbox rig and in the wind tunnel to further develop our race package. Given the inclement weather forecast for Barber over the next few days and after much discussion, we believe the best use of our time is to continue our preparations for Brazil here in Indianapolis."
Luczo Dragon Racing, fresh off its merger with de Ferran Motorsports, has strengthened its team by adding a second car and veteran driver Davey Hamilton for three races during the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series, it was announced today.
Hamilton, who joins 2009 Apex Brazil IndyCar Rookie of the Year Raphael Matos as the Luczo Dragon drivers, is scheduled to enter the Indianapolis 500, the Bombardier Learjet 550 at Texas Motor Speedway and another oval race. It will be his first multi-race IndyCar schedule since he retired with injuries in 2001.
Hamilton, the IndyCar Series runner up in 1997 and 1998, has more than 25 years of experience as a competitive racecar driver, including nine years and 51 races in the IndyCar Series. He has posted eight podiums and 15 top 10 finishes, including three top 10s at the Indy 500. He retired as a driver after a serious crash at Texas Motor Speedway in 2001. After enduring 21 surgeries to reconstruct his feet, Hamilton courageously returned to the cockpit for the Indy 500 in 2007 and finished ninth. He has entered the last three Indy 500s. When he takes the track on June 5, it will be Hamilton's first race back in Texas since the horrific accident.
Raphael Matos: "It helps a lot. It's extremely difficult to be a one-car team. There's no comparison for data or driver input. Adding Davey with his experience, as well as Gil, they've been through a lot of the situations I have not. I was fortunate to run the full season last year, and I was able to learn a lot but there's still a lot of learning for me. You don't learn everything in just one year. There's a lot of hard work for me and a lot of hard work for the team. We must improve at a lot of the tracks and we have a really good direction. We have good support from our new sponsor, HP, and I'm just very honored to be on my second year with the team."
Davey Hamilton: "It's exciting for me to back and able to run the Indy 500. It's always been something I wanted to do, run more than Indy and I haven't been able to put that together the last several years. I'm able to do that finally. This team coming together, Luczo Dragon already has some success and with Gil joining this team, I'm very excited about the possibilities. Rafa has done a fantastic job. He's out of his rookie season now so he's been to these tracks before and has experience. We're hoping to be able to give each other a lot of information to excel the team and to get a victory. Hopefully we can do it sooner than later."
Gil de Ferran: "(Davey) is one of the best oval drivers out there so I'm sure he's going to contribute to the performance of the team and also help Rafa quite a bit given there's a vast gap in experience here between the two. I feel that he's very much a positive for our team, particularly regarding the Indy 500. "
Danica Patrick participated in the today's luncheon to discuss April's Alabama Indy Grand Prix presented by Legacy Credit Union. Following are selected quotes from her availability.
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Andretti Autosport): "The thing about Barber Motorsports Park is that every time we've been here there have always been fans out to the track. I think that's one of the big things that drew us to come here. Our cars are very high-performance and are fun to see out there. To give people that chance to see us is good. It lets us know that we are wanted here." (About testing at Barber): "It's nice to be able to test at a track that we race at. We're going to work on the car and make it the best it can be."
Holmatro Incorporated, an important resource for the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights since their foundings, will be the sponsor of the Indy Racing League Safety Team, it was announced today during the IZOD IndyCar Series Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham.
The Holmatro Safety Team unveiled its new look for the 2010 season that opens in São Paolo, Brazil, next month. Holmatro has provided trackside support at every Indy Racing League race since its January 1996 inaugural event at Walt Disney World Speedway. In 2010, the Holmatro Safety Team will accompany the Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body for the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights, at 17 events in the United States, Canada, Brazil and Japan.
"Holmatro is excited to take our involvement with the Indy Racing League to the next logical level. We have worked with the men and women of the Indy Racing League since the league began in 1996 to ensure that the on track response to accidents is as efficient and effective as possible," said William "Giff" Swayne, President of Holmatro. "As a world leader in rescue equipment, our gear is called upon everyday to save lives. What we learn in racing helps us to keep ahead of the new technologies that will ultimately make their way into the cars that our customers will deal with on the street. The Holmatro Safety Team will continue to be the world leader in motorsports safety and on track response."
Under the supervision of Dr. Mike Olinger, Indy Racing League director of medical services, and Mike Yates, Indy Racing League manager of track safety operations, the Holmatro Safety Team consists of approximately 24 safety personnel with a minimum of 14 attending each event--two trauma physicians, three paramedics and nine firefighters/EMTs. Team personnel have an average of 20 years of experience in their respective areas.
The team travels with four safety vehicles and brings the most sophisticated racing technologies with its state-of-the-art, high-performance Holmatro rescue equipment to each venue. It continually evaluates its on-track procedures to be at the forefront of motorsports safety for participants and spectators. The Holmatro Safety Team works in conjunction with and coordinates the safety personnel staffing each venue, including firefighters, ambulance and tow-truck providers and track maintenance crews. An eight-hour instructional course is held at every new venue on the schedule and the team meets with tracks for update sessions before each event.
"Holmatro tools have been a staple of our safety team's equipment over the years, and we're excited to now have the company serve as the title sponsor of the crew," said Terry Angstadt, president of the commercial division, Indy Racing League. "We continue to take pride in our role as a leader in on-track safety in the motorsports community and with Holmatro's support, we look forward to further expanding our leadership position."
DAY 1 QUOTES:
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske): "It's nice to be at the top of the speed charts. It's important because it is our only test before the first race, so we're all comparing times. It's nice to have the Team Penske cars on top. It's a great way to start the year."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske): "Today was about getting a rhythm. The last time I was in a Team Penske car on a road course was Infineon (last August). You need testing to get your muscles back into shape. Even if you've been working out, you still need to get your rhythm back and get to work. That was the goal today. Tomorrow we'll work on the small details."
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 22 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing): "The first day in the car was really good. It was a pretty positive day and we kept making improvements. All in all, I think that it went well and I'm pleased with P3. I'm getting comfortable in the car and with my new engineer and crew. I'm looking forward to tomorrow. Unfortunately, at the end of the day I just clipped the grass going into Turn 1 and the car snapped around on me. The car isn't too badly damaged and I'm OK."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske): "It felt great to be back in the car. This has been the longest offseason of my career. We were able to learn a few things today. The No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car ran great today. The team worked together nicely and we had a productive day. I am looking forward to getting back on track tomorrow."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing): "We worked on a combination on aero and mechanical items today. There's still a lot more work to be done tomorrow so I hope it's going to be a bit warmer for us."
E.J. VISO (No. 8 KV Racing Technology): "It was a pretty good day for the whole KV Racing Technology team. It was the first time we had three cars on track and I think it was a successful day. I am very happy to be part of this team. With the little time that I have had with them, the KVRT crew guys have done a great job and I think we showed the hunger make this a very positive year for KV Racing Technology."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 5 KV Racing Technology): "It was a great day. The KV Racing Technology car was reliable and once I had got used to the way an Indy car handles and how the track layout was I enjoyed it. The track is superb, a lot of fast corners and elevation. The day started off slowly, with cold temperatures and difficult conditions, but by the end we had a very successful first test. We went through some setups which helped me to learn a lot and had a very productive first day."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Andretti Autosport): "It was a lot better than I expected. It was good to be back in the Team 7-Eleven car. It's a tough track, actually, and it takes you a while to learn it. I think it was a productive day for us. We made huge improvements on the car from the start of the practice to the end. Hopefully, the weather will be a little bit better tomorrow. It's our last practice day before the first race of the season, so we need to take advantage of it."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing): "We went through a list of test items today that we've been working on in the offseason. The weather has changed things slightly. Overall, we learned some things not to do. Hopefully, we'll just keep working our way through our list of items tomorrow."
HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 06 Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing): "The last time I drove an Indy car was at Sebring in November with this team for a one-day test, so it has been three months since I was in a race car. It took a while to get up to speed but once I got there the car felt really good. By the end of the day, I was starting to have good communication with my engineer Martin (Pare), who I knew when we were both at Andretti Green Racing. It takes time because of my (English) and also I need to understand what they are talking about, but so far, I am very happy. I feel the car has a lot of potential to do a good lap time. I like the course. There are a lot of elevation changes and nice, fast corners, quick Esses and also some slow corners. It's very fun and challenging to drive."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Andretti Autosport): "If anything today, we were able to make the 26 car different. It started to feel more like a race car and we got some normal qualities back that we've been looking for. I'm a little disappointed with our time, but we're heading in the right direction. I think we'll see good results from the Venom car if we stick to our plan."
MARIO ROMANCINI (No. 34 Conquest Racing): "I am very happy with our first day of testing with the team. We had a productive session and we used well our track time. It's good to see that we are within one second of the best time for our very first day. I adapted to the car very easily. Tomorrow we will start to test different things versus today where the team focused on giving me as much seat time as possible."
JAMES ROSSITER (No. 32 KV Racing Technology): "It felt good for my first experience with KV Racing Technology and driving an Indy car. I have lots to learn and lots to think about tonight and I am sure we will come back stronger tomorrow. I certainly have a lot of information to take onboard and digest and will work with the engineers tonight and hopefully have a more productive day tomorrow."
VITOR MEIRA (No. 14 A.J. Foyt Racing): "We accomplished what we came to do which was to establish a baseline today working with Jeff (Britton, chief engineer). It's been over 10 months since I was on a road course and as you can see it's taken its toll. I'm still getting myself in the game. I didn't push it as much as I normally would-I never even put a wheel off today. But today was more about gathering data to know where we are at so we can move forward tomorrow. It was a good day for the ABC Supply team."
RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 2 Luczo Dragon Racing): "It was a difficult day for us. We were working on the balance of the car all day, but were never able to find a good balance. The good thing is we know the direction we are going to take, we'll make a few changes to the car and hopefully will be much better tomorrow. It has been helpful being around Gil. I think we are understanding each other better and better every time and that will help communicating about the car with the engineers. Now we will try to make the necessary changes and hopefully that will translate in performance.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 37 Andretti Autosport): "It was a bit of a strange day, but an expected day for Team IZOD. We had to get some things sorted out for my liking and we went back to the transporter a number of times to do that. They were lengthy changes, but we got it sorted to where we could run for about two hours." (About the track): "Barber, like Sonoma, is a place where you have to know your way around to get a good time around it. It has a lot of blind entries and exits, so I needed to learn the track. I took my time with that and we took our time getting the settings right on the car. By the end of the day, I was finally able to start to push. Hopefully, it's not too cold tomorrow and we'll get some better track time."
MIKE CONWAY (No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing): "Today was a tough day and we were just trying to get a good balance with the car, but struggled a little bit. Tomorrow we are just going to keep up the hard work and try and get through all of the test items. Luckily, we were able to get some laps in and hopefully we can do the same tomorrow."
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Andretti Autosport): "Today's test was definitely a challenge. The GoDaddy car wasn't handling the way that I would've liked; the cold weather doesn't help either. So tonight we're going to take a look at the data and see what we can learn from it. Hopefully tomorrow's session will go better."
SARAH FISHER: (No. 67 Sarah Fisher Racing): "Not necessarily my most fantastic day, but we did learn a lot. The fastest lap we had was the last one, which just shows there's a lot more to learn tomorrow. We fought the weather all day, temperatures weren't on our side for grip right off the bat, all in all - I'm more comfortable in the car which will help allow me to learn these techniques quicker. With the smaller window of experience there's a lot to be learned in a short amount of time. The plan tomorrow is for Jay to be in the car in the morning, learn from him with his time on track - leading up to me in the car again in the afternoon."
The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season begins March 14 with the São Paulo Indy 300 on the streets of São Paulo, Brazil. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 11:30 a.m. (EDT) by VERSUS. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 211. The race also will be carried on www.indycar.com. The 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season opens with the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg March 28 on the streets of St. Petersburg. The race will air live on indycar.com.