INDIANAPOLIS – On Thursday, the Verizon IndyCar Series unveiled the updated testing program for the new car. While some controversy has surrounded the tests so far, as some of the teams have complained that they weren’t included in these tests, the series has since corrected that. But, the initial testing program and system implemented by Jay Frye and company was flawless.
At first, Dallara and the series ran the tests. The Indianapolis, Mid-Ohio, Iowa and Sebring tests were strictly INDYCAR sanctioned tests and the series worked closely with both manufacturers as well as Dallara on developing and making changes to these cars as needed. Basically, it was the first rough draft per say. Juan Pablo Montoya (Chevrolet) and Oriol Servia (Honda) tested the new cars at four different tracks and between those two, INDYCAR, Dallara, Chevrolet and Honda, they compared notes and went back to the drawing board.
“We collect all the data, once we’re done with our sign off testing, then we give our data to the manufacturers and they then will distribute it to all the teams so it’s even among all the current teams,” Jay Frye noted to me back in September on the process. “They will go back to Dallara. Chevrolet has a room, Honda has a room. They’re separate.
“Once the manufacturers get a hold of the car after we’re done with it, then the teams get ahold of the car after that. Those will be much more elaborate test points. Having said that, next year IndyCar has an open test policy where we go to Phoenix and Barber again. We will probably go to Texas to figure that out.”
He went further and even spoke of that plan once that happens even further too.
“The testing plan is once we’re done with our plan in September, the manufacturers will get kits at that point,” Frye continued. “The manufacturers can test with their teams. At the end of November, the teams will get their kits, meaning the teams can go test with their stuff after that. They will be able to start testing in January.
Frye also noted that each manufacturer (Honda and Chevrolet) gets four tests each, and they can bring two cars each and any driver they wish in those cars. They also can use any venue too. So, between September and November, look for more testing from them.
So, in a nut shell, he’s saying between July and the end of September, INDYCAR will test at the previously mentioned tracks. Then, the car and development and all the info they’ve gathered goes to Honda and Chevrolet. From there, Honda and Chevy can test between September and November, which they did and that’s when the teams not included got mad. After that, the teams will have received their new cars at the end of November and can begin testing among themselves in January. After January, INDYCAR will hold an open test at Phoenix and Barber like normal and likely even add Texas to the mix.
On Thursday, we now know that next phase of the testing. Six of the 12 test days currently scheduled will be done at Sebring.
On Jan. 9, Andretti Autosport and Dale Coyne Racing will have a select “TEAM TEST” at the Sebring International Raceway road course. Zach Veach (rookie evaluation) and Alexander Rossi (Shake Down/Half Day) will test for Andretti while Sebastien Bourdais will have a full test on the Coyne side. The next day on Jan. 10, all four Andretti cars will be available for a full test day, while both Chip Ganassi Racing cars (Scott Dixon and Ed Jones) will join them. DCR will have a car available, but the driver is TBA.
After a few weeks off, Carlin will have a “TEAM TEST” on the Homestead-Miami Speedway road course with Max Chilton and Charlie Kimball having a shake down/half day work.
On Jan. 24, it’s back to Sebring for a big test, 15 cars to be exact. AJ Foyt Racing (Kanaan, Leist), Andretti Autosport (Andretti, Hunter-Reay, Rossi, Veach), Carlin (Chilton, Kimball), Dale Coyne Racing (Bourdais, TBA), Juncos Racing (TBA), Michael Shank Racing (Harvey), Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (Hinchcliffe, Wickens) and Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing (Rahal) will take part. The next day on Jan. 25, RLL will be back, this time with Takuma Sato for a shake down/half day.
Then, it’s out west for a west coast swing of tests.
On Feb. 5, it’s a 11 car test at Sonoma. AJ Foyt Racing (Kanaan, Leist), Ed Carpenter Racing (Pigot, King), Harding Racing (Chaves), Michael Shank Racing (Harvey), SPM (Hinchcliffe, Wickens) and Team Penske (Newgarden, Pagenaud, Power). Three days later is the series’ first “open test” with everyone allowed to take to the ISM Raceway in Phoenix.
On Feb. 20, ECR will have a team test at Barber just to themselves. Spencer Pigot and Jordan King will take part in it. A week later, there’s another team test, this time at Sebring and this time for all four Andretti cars and both Ganassi.
On Feb. 28, it’s a team test at Sebring between all three Penske cars, both Foyt cars, both ECR drivers and both RLL drivers.
Then, the next two tests scheduled from there are series “open tests” at Barber on March 20 and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on March 27.
Andretti Autosport – Jan. 9 Sebring (Veach/Rossi), Jan. 10 Sebring (All Drivers), Jan. 24 Sebring (All Drivers), Feb. 8-10 Phoenix (All Drivers), Feb. 27 Sebring (All Drivers), March 20 Barber (All Drivers), March 27 Indianapolis (All Drivers)
Chip Ganassi Racing – Jan. 10 Sebring (Dixon/Jones), Feb. 8-10 Phoenix (Dixon/Jones), Feb. 27 Sebring (Dixon/Jones), March 20 Barber (Dixon/Jones), March 27 Indianapolis (Dixon/Jones)
Dale Coyne Racing – Jan. 9 Sebring (Bourdais), Jan. 10 Sebring (TBA), Jan. 24 Sebring (Bourdais/TBA), Feb. 8-10 Phoenix (Bourdais/TBA), March 20 Barber (Bourdais/TBA), March 27 (Bourdais/TBA)
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports – Jan. 24 Sebring (Hinchcliffe/Wickens), Feb. 5 Sonoma (Hinchcliffe/Wickens), Feb. 8-10 Phoenix (Hinchcliffe, Wickens), March 20 Barber (Hinchcliffe/Wickens), March 27 Indianapolis (Hinchcliffe/Wickens)
Michael Shank Racing – Jan. 24 (Harvey), Feb. 5 Sonoma (Harvey), Feb. 8-10 Phoenix (Harvey), March 20 (Harvey), March 27 Indianapolis (Harvey)
Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing – Jan. 24 Sebring (Rahal), Jan. 25 Sebring (Sato), Feb. 8-10 Phoenix (Rahal/Sato), Feb. 28 Sebring (Rahal/Sato), March 20 Barber (Rahal/Sato), March 27 (Rahal/Sato)
Team Penske – Feb. 5 Sonoma (All Drivers), Feb. 8-10 Phoenix (All Drivers), Feb. 28 Sebring (All Drivers), March 20 Barber (All Drivers), March 27 Indianapolis (All Drivers)
AJ Foyt Racing – Jan. 24 Sebring (Kanaan/Leist), Feb. 5 Sonoma (Kanaan/Leist), Feb. 8-10 Phoenix (Kanaan/Leist), Feb. 28 Sebring (Kanaan/Leist), March 20 Barber (Kanaan/Leist), March 27 Indianapolis (Kanaan/Leist)
Ed Carpenter Racing – Feb. 5 Sonoma (Pigot/King), Feb. 8-10 (Pigot/Carpenter), Feb. 20 Barber (Pigot/King), Feb. 28 Sebring (Pigot/King), March 20 Barber (Pigot/King), March 27 Indianapolis (Pigot/Carpenter)
Carlin Racing – Jan. 22 Homestead road course (Chilton/Kimball), Jan. 24 Sebring (Chilton/Kimball), Feb. 8-10 Phoenix (Chilton/Kimball), March 20 Barber (Chilton/Kimball), March 27 Indianapolis (Chilton/Kimball)
Harding Racing – Feb. 5 Sonoma (Chaves), Feb. 8-10 Phoenix (Chaves), March 20 Barber (Chaves), March 27 Indianapolis (Chaves)
Juncos Racing – Jan. 24 Sebring (TBA), Feb. 8-10 Phoenix (TBA), March 20 Barber (TBA), March 27 Indianapolis (TBA)