Rain was one of the big stories of the day at the NTT Data IndyCar test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Wednesday afternoon. Fortunately, between the veterans and rookies and refreshers, fans got to see around three hours of cars on track. Here’s what I took away from the test.
Calling for a tow. As has been the case over the last several years, speeds greatly differed between when cars were in traffic and when they weren’t. Takuma Sato paced the veterans with a lap of 226.993 mph, with Ed Carpenter just behind at 226.414. Coton Herta paced the second session with a top lap of 226.108. Overall, the delta between tow and no-tow laps was about 3 1/2-4 mph, but it looked like the cars could run closer together, and there were some good passes at the end of both straights.
Consider #FredWatch…delayed. There was plenty of excitement in the air for Fernando Alonso’s return to the Speedway after a one-year hiatus, but his month (it’s close enough to May, let’s just roll it all in together from here) got of to an auspicious start when his car came to a stop on the warm-up lap in Turn 2. After slaying the mechanical gremlins, Alonso did make it out for 29 total laps, but only posted a best lap of 218.690 mph.
Livery madness. Several cars came out with new liveries for the month, and some looked really sharp. Power’s matte black and Marco Andretti’s day-glo orange were quite the contrast to each other, while Sato is carrying Mi-Jack on the side of his car with a red, yellow and white scheme. Helio Castroneves, making his return to the Speedway in a one-off effort this year, again looked sharp in the throwback Pennzoil yellow.
One more thing…on a side note, all four rookies on track Wednesday: Herta, Santino Ferrucci, Felix Rosenqvist and Marcus Ericsson all completed their rookie orientation. Pato O’Ward, who wasn’t at the test as he isn’t a full-season entrant, will get his chance when practice opens May 13. Conor Daly was the only veteran to finish his refresher course, leaving Castroneves, Alonso, JR Hildebrand and Oriol Servia to finish theirs on the 13th as well.
Photo credit: Chris Owens/IndyCar Media