February 20, 2012 | By Dave Lewandowski - INDYCAR.COM
Texas Trip: Roping In Oval Aero Package
FORT WORTH, Texas – Determining the aerodynamic package for the new IZOD IndyCar Series car on high-speed ovals in advance of a scheduled March 13 Open Test at Texas Motor Speedway is the objective of INDYCAR and three driver-car combinations converging on the 1.5-mile oval Feb. 21.
“It’s really important to figure out before we go back there so I’m pleased we’re working really close with the tech guys from INDYCAR to make it happen,” said KV Racing Technology’s Tony Kanaan, who volunteered for the mission.
Alex Tagliani of Team Barracuda BHA (formerly known as Bryan Herta Autosport) and Ryan Briscoe of Team Penske will join Kanaan, who celebrated his 2004 series championship at the track. A road/street course Open Test is scheduled for March 5-6 and 8-9 at Sebring International Raceway (the middle day for Firestone Indy Lights testing).
Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the first oval event on the schedule, following four street/road circuits. The Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway is June 8-9.
“We’re going to Texas to make sure of and define what specification we should run the car in aerodynamically, but also it’s the first opportunity that INDYCAR has had to look at the suspension (alteration by Dallara) to change the weight distribution,” INDYCAR vice president of technology Will Phillips said. “The intention is to run the cars in similar configurations. They’ll have different setups because I’m not specifying a setup, but similar aerodynamic specification and then step through an agreed program with all three groups.”
Dallara-provided aero bits that were tested in the full-scale wind tunnel last month in North Carolina will be used (“one will go to each,” according to Phillips). Also, a lightweight spool for the Xtrac transmission will be employed for the first time on oval testing. The only other development session on a 1.5-mile oval was at Homestead-Miami Speedway in December.
Tagliani’s previous time in the Lotus car came on the Homestead-Miami Speedway road course in January. The Lotus test team is comprised of crew members and the three drivers from Team Barracuda BHA, Lotus Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and Lotus HVM Racing.
“I would say (Texas is) quite important because it’s a logical step to continue the development of the car and to make sure we give all the information to the INDYCAR staff for improving the racing and making sure we’re where we need to be when we get to that sort of track,” the 2011 Indianapolis 500 pole sitter said. “For Lotus it’s important too because we have not had the same amount of time in the car with the engine to play around as the others.
“We (Simona de Silvestro, Oriol Servia and he) have done Homestead and Sebring and now going to an oval is good for Lotus for the development and to see where they want to be. It seems as if there’s a new development every week, but when you’re not in the car every week it’s ‘OK, how many more developments have we had since we tested in Homestead?’
“Every bit you put on the car will be a decision factor in how our racing is going to be when we get to the Texas race. It’s a very important test – series, Lotus perspective and the team for understanding what this aero does and what this car does on an oval.”
Other testing this week
Barber Motorsports Park, Alabama (Feb. 20-21)
No. 9 Scott Dixon - Target Chip Ganassi Racing
No. 10 Dario Franchitti - Target Chip Ganassi Racing
No. 14 Mike Conway - A.J. Foyt Racing
No. 15 Takuma Sato - Rahal Letterman Lanigan
No. 18 James Jakes - Dale Coyne Racing
No. 19 Justin Wilson - Dale Coyne Racing
No. 38 Graham Rahal - Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing
No. 83 Charlie Kimball - Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing
No. 77 Simon Pagenaud - Sam Schmidt Motorsports
No. 3 Helio Castroneves - Team Penske
No. 12 Will Power - Team Penske
Phoenix International Raceway, Arizona (Feb. 21-22)
No. 4 JR Hildebrand – National Guard Panther Racing (Feb. 22 only)
No. 26 Marco Andretti – Andretti Autosport
Sebring International Raceway, Florida (Feb. 23-24)
No. 9 Scott Dixon – Target Chip Ganassi Racing
No. 10 Dario Franchitti – Target Chip Ganassi Racing
No. 15 Takuma Sato – Rahal Letterman Lanigan
No. 38 Graham Rahal – Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing
No. 77 Simon Pagenaud -- Sam Schmidt Motorsports
No. 83 Charlie Kimball – Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing
No. 2 Oriol Servia -- Lotus Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
No. 78 Simona de Silvestro -- Lotus HVM Racing
Infineon Raceway, California (Feb. 25-26)
No. 2 Ryan Briscoe (Team Penske)
No. 4 JR Hildebrand -- Panther Racing
No. 12 Will Power (Team Penske)
No. 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport)
E.J. Viso and Rubens Barrichello (KV Racing Technology)
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