By Christopher DeHarde, IndyCar & Road to Indy Writer
After getting through some light technical gremlins early in the day, Chevrolet and Honda managed to complete their objectives for the initial test for the 2018 IndyCar aerodynamic package at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Tuesday.
Juan Pablo Montoya (Chevrolet) and Oriol Servia (Honda) were able to complete their respective manufacturer test programs that were slated to be completed on Tuesday and Wednesday if necessary.
Team Penske was preparing the Chevrolet car, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports was preparing the Honda car.
Top speeds were not the focus of the day. Getting a consistent feel for the car was the main goal for both manufacturers and both drivers were satisfied with their progress.
For Servia, he was able to be flat out immediately and the car had no surprises.
“From Lap 1 it just felt at home,” Servia said. “The car felt great, I was flat honestly out of the pits which again doesn’t say much about my smarts but it just says how good the car felt right away and we did everything we had planned to do in two days we already accomplished in one day.
Servia has raced in nine Indianapolis 500s with a best finish of fourth in 2012 but was very complimentary of the consistency of the newer car’s performance.
“My second long run was I think one of the most consistent runs I’ve done at this track in all my years,” he continued. “It feels really good. It still looks sexy, fast and safe so really very happy with the work Sam Schmidt’s team has done and Honda and very happy.”
Montoya has competed in four Indianapolis 500s, winning two of them and was also happy with the car’s performance.
“It drives really really well,” said Montoya. “I think they addressed a lot of the things (by) having a car that looks great. I think having one aero kit for everybody I think is great for the sport.
“The car looks good and it drives really good, I think by not having all the weight on the back with those pods and everything is going to make it drive better. We haven’t run in traffic but I think the car’s going to be better in traffic so racing should be a little bit better as well.”
Montoya believes that the new car will correct a major deficiency with the old car running in traffic.
“One of the biggest problems we had from the aero kit cars, they took some of the downforce from the bottom of the car and when you really got close to people you should get only understeer,” he added.
“With the current car you get actually oversteer, the car actually steps out at the rear. With this (new car) that should go away so it’s going to allow people to be a lot more aggressive and a lot more confident and that should just bring better racing.”
The next test for the cars will be at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Tuesday August 1. There will be a short oval test on August 10 at Iowa Speedway and a street course simulation will take place at Sebring International Raceway on September 26th.