AJ Foyt Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais posted the fastest time of testing at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama on Tuesday.
The Frenchman, who makes a full-time return to the NTT IndyCar Series in 2021 driving the No.14 Chevrolet, Speaking to the media recently, team President Larry Foyt said the team needed to work on their road course set up and Tuesday’s time was set without the assistance of push to pass which shows the incredible hard work the team have done over the off-season.
Speaking following the action, Bourdais commented saying:
“We had a pretty good day yesterday at Barber. “We went through a lot of stuff, testing dampers and some concepts as far as platforms. Everybody’s starting to work pretty efficiently together, the atmosphere is good. The car was pretty quick right out of the box and I had a really good time. Very positive day. With Barber being the season opener, you want to be cautiously optimistic. I think we should have a good card to play and be in the mix, which is always encouraging, so I’m looking forward to it.”
AJ Foyt Racing Technical Director Mike Colliver who moved up from engineering the No.14 Chevrolet over the off-season commented saying:
I think the test is just the continued development from some of the stuff we were doing at Road America last year. Charlie was pretty strong in Race 2 and Dalton was strong at Mid-Ohio for where his development is. We had a really good test at Barber in the fall with Sebastien, and some of that was combining what was done in the past, ideas that I brought, ideas that Mike Pawlowski (race engineer on the 4 car) had, and we combined things. We were pretty quick in the fall and we just came back with the same car. Covid and the compressed schedule has helped us catch up and gave us the time to have in-house development of some of the tools we could use to analyze and quantify things. Yesterday’s test was a good validation for some of those tools.
Colliver went on to say:
He’s a huge help. Just his wealth of knowledge is a huge help from a couple standpoints. One, he understands mechanically what the car is doing and secondly, he gives the changes to the car a fair shot. He will go out and run six or seven laps, and maybe the first two laps it doesn’t feel great and maybe he’ll change something in his driving style or he’ll wait a little longer for the tire pressures to come up or do a click on the rear bar, whatever he needs to do. And then he comes in and tells you it either worked or didn’t and why. His analytical approach combined with his experience is really refreshing. He doesn’t get rattled, he’s very calm and meticulous in the car.
“But it is also the whole feel of the group, the engineering group is really working together well. “Everybody is putting work in that shows up on both cars and really on Seb’s because of his driving ability. From the data guys, to the guys who are doing simulations, the junior engineers, Danielle’s (Cucchiaroni, performance engineer) knowledge, and Justin is doing a great job. Everybody is pulling in the same direction which is really cool.
Dalton Kellett who steps up to a full-time NTT IndyCar Series programme driving the No.4 K Line Insulators Chevrolet was happy with how his test went saying:
We had a good test overall. “I’m encouraged by the gains we are making and I think we have a very solid car. It felt good to be back at Barber. I love the track but it can bite you! On my second run, I got loose on power in T13 and had an off. I caught the initial slide but then my trajectory was off and I was headed for the grass. I had some contact with the tire barrier and we were down for repairs. It was unfortunate to lose testing time that way, especially when the engineers had a full list of items to get through. The crew did a great job getting the #4 fixed and ready to go. We ran all afternoon and worked through most of the items on the list. We’re continuing to learn more about and refine our damper package and the overall balance was where it needs to be. I think we’re in a good spot for the season opener in April!
Team President Larry Foyt commented on the day’s action saying:
It was a solid test day for the whole team. We had a lot of items to get through and I think we got good data on the majority of them. Seb had good speed in the 14 car all day which was nice. Dalton worked through an early incident to get back on track in the 4 car and get some good running in. It was certainly one of our best tests on a permanent road course which is encouraging for the season.
When push to pass was factored into the equation, Sebastien Bourdais was second behind Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus Veekay while Dalton Kellett was ninth.
AJ Foyt Racing will be back in action next month at Texas Motor Speedway for a private test before heading to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in early April.