[media-credit id=4 align=”alignleft” width=”266″][/media-credit]It may be a new chassis, but the dominance of Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske will look to continue in the IZOD IndyCar Series following testing. At the end of the four day test, the two teams shared the top of the chart with Target Chip Ganassi having the upperhand.
After all four days, it was Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver Scott Dixon leading the field with a time of 51.7932 seconds at a speed of 116.077 mph.
“Overall it was a good day for Team Target,” Dixon said. “We got started late because of some issues, and probably didn’t get accomplished what we needed to in the first part of the day. We made a big suspension change at lunch time, and I actually didn’t like all of that stuff, but we came out around 3 p.m., and didn’t have time to go back on those things, so we stuck with it. We made steering changes and damper changes and seem to find a bit of a compromise for what we had. Today was more a day of learning about the new car and trying to soak up as much as we can before St. Pete.”
Dixon’s quick lap, which saw him be the only driver under 52 seconds, came near the end of the last practice session.
“We did the work on the car and as the sun went down a bit and the clouds came in, the track picked up some time,” he said. “We definitely worked to make the car better as well. I was good to do something for the lads at the end and it worked out.”
Dixon’s teammate Dario Franchitti would be second on the charts with a time of 52.0157 seconds.
“The team always does a good job, they’re very, very good,” Franchitti said. “We’re trying to learn these new cars. We’re trying to learn the new car, what might break on them, where the weak spots are, how to make them go fast. Honda is learning very quickly too so we’re just trying to get through all of this stuff just now. I’m very happy with the two days we’ve had, obviously the first two days for me right from break-in, we had a lot of questions coming in to this test and we got answers to most of them, so hopefully we can put the pieces together for St. Pete and onwards.”
Penske Racing driver Helio Castroneves would end the session in third at a time of 52.1413 seconds.
“Overall it was a good day for the Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet,” he said. “Chevy did an incredible job. We are still developing the car. Still making little bits here and there. But, for Spring Training, I thought all of the Chevys are in good shape. Overall Team Penske is in good shape. We have to just keep pushing each other. Hopefully we can get what we want for the first race of the season.”
Castroneves is one of the drivers driving a Chevrolet powered car this season, and commends Chevrolet on their efforts so far.
“Chevy is on-board,” he said. “Took the bull by the horns as they say. It is a very good commitment from everyone. Right now we are still working; still developing.”
Ruben Barrichello of KV Racing Technology ranked fourth with a lap of 52.1615 seconds. Barrichello is trying to learn as much as he can as he makes the transition from Formula 1 to IndyCar.
“We were able to run a good amount of laps again today and look at some different setups,” he said. “We also practiced pit stops which will served me well. I was able to see how the car reacts coming in on warm tires and leaving on cold tires and seeing where to position the car, all things that are very different to what I am used to. Overall though we have had a very good two days of testing.”
Team Penske’s Will Power rounded out the top five with a lap of 52.2059 seconds.
“It is clear that it is pretty even so far,” Power said. “The moment of truth is going to be St. Pete. Everyone is going to have what they’ve got. There is no sandbagging or anything. We shall see there.”
Power added though that it’s hard to see where everybody is at due to how unique Sebring is.
“It is so hard to tell this track, to be honest,” he said. “It is a very strange circuit for testing, because I don’t think there is any place we go that is like it. Turn 4 is probably the most representative corner of a street course. Everywhere else has way too much grip, so the car always feels pretty good. I’m not sure what we get out of these tests, but we certainly push the car to the limit I would say.”
JR Hilderbrand was sixth, followed by Ryan Briscoe, Mike Conway, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Takuma Sato.