Charlie Kimball says there hasn’t been enough track running at IMS to judge which – if either – of IndyCar’s manufacturers has an edge, and that for now Ganassi is focused on learning Honda’s superspeedway aerokit.
Kimball, who has scored four top-10 finishes in the Indy 500, including third and fifth in the last two races, said that he and his teammates are learning all the nuances of HPD’s engine and bodywork, following Chip Ganassi Racing's offseason switch from Chevrolet. As a result, he says the team isn’t yet showing its full potential.
“We haven’t even started down the road of going fast,” Kimball told Motorsport.com. “We’re working on foundational test items and the Honda aerokit is different. Huge credit to the mechanics who busted their tails to get the cars changed from roadcourse to oval spec on Sunday.
“I did 75 laps yesterday and I have never run that many miles on an opening day of practice before. We covered a lot of ground on our test list so Todd [Malloy, race engineer] was able to go through everything, and could see, ‘OK, that direction wasn’t right, let’s build a plan to go down this direction.’
“But as far as Honda vs Chevy, I don’t think you can tell anything yet. What I can say is that for us, there is such a different sensation in the car. The engine, the torque and what are you are listening for and feeling are all particular to the kit.
“The engineering, aerodynamics and dynamics are very different, especially around here at 210, 215mph. Aerodynamics is a big piece of the overall package – how the center of pressure moves, how it handles yaw, how it handles the different loads. It’s pretty subtle and when you’re just watching the cars go through the turns, you see a smooth arc, but from inside the car, it’s moving around a lot – vertically, laterally and every point in between.”