By Phillip Schmitz, Staff Writer
The NTT IndyCar Series will get their first taste of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week with the series holding a two day open test this Thursday and Friday in preparation for the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500 next month.
Fans are allowed to attend the open test in person at the speedway on both days. If unable to attend, the open test will be streamed live on Peacock.
Day one of testing, April 20th, will be a mix bag of events to open the two day testing period. The veteran drivers that have prior experience racing in the Indianapolis 500, but aren’t driving full time this year will be the first on the track from 10:00 am to Noon ET.
You’ll see the likes of Marco Andretti, Tony Kanaan, Takuma Sato, and others in this session.
Rookies who look to race in the Indianapolis 500 will get to test from Noon to 2:00 pm ET. The drivers in this group include Agustin Canapino, Sting Ray Robb, and Benjamin Pederson. Those drivers will have to complete the Rookie Orientation Program to be eligible to race next month.
Rookie drivers will also be joined with the veterans, who have to complete the refresher program to be eligible to race.
Following the split veteran and rookie groups, the track will be open for all eligible drivers to practice at the speedway from 2:00 pm to 6:30 pm ET.
On day two, April 21, all drivers will be able to test from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm ET to practice and gain knowledge for them leading into the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
The sanctioning body has made downforce changes to what teams are allowed to adjust for this year’s race. Combined with the elements that were used for the PPG375 at Texas Motor Speedway race earlier this month, IndyCar will allow teams to run more downforce this year than in the past.
Instead of running max downforce, teams will now have a bigger box to set up their car. Something that can be changed not just going into the race, but in the race itself during pit stops.
Do teams run the maximum downforce that’s allowed to help the handling, with the penalty of creating a bigger hole in the air for the drivers behind in the draft? Or trim it out to make the car have less drag at the expense of handling.? This is something that teams might change as the Indy 500 plays out.
Also to note, none of the AJ Foyt Racing cars that raced at Texas earlier this month will be for the Indy 500. Also, the cars that will be used this week for the two day test, won’t be used for the Indy 500 as well.
Speaking about Texas, Takuma Sato crashed the very car that Chip Ganassi prepared for his Indy 500. At this time, it is unknown if that car was able to be repaired or if the team had to completely rebuild a new car for Indianapolis. That answer might come once the two day test begins on Thursday.
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