The 2023 NTT IndyCar Series season gets underway this weekend with the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg presented by RP Funding.
The main question on everyone’s mind is, can Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin go back to back following his victory here last year.
The New Zealander says that he learnt a lot over the course of last season and he is excited to get back in the car this weekend.
I know that we made a massive step personally for me last year. “That was due to a number of things clicking, working out really good. But now what we know of INDYCAR racing, you just need to continue stepping up a little. We need to continue to build as a team, and for myself. I’ve certainly looked at negatives that I can improve on. Hopefully that bodes well to repeat our win at the season opening race at St. Petersburg, and for the rest of the season.”
Josef Newgarden heads into the new season aiming not only to win his third NTT IndyCar Series championship but also to win the Indianapolis 500 and speaking ahead of Sunday’s race he said:
“During our test, I felt really good with our package. The progress we made in 2022 was very evident here, very useful because of (…) first-gear corners, very big premium on traction, traction capability. I thought our drivability was fantastic. It’s good to have this type of environment [at Thermal Club] to get ready for St. Pete. I left the test feeling really confident that we’ve got a team that can build together and try and push from the very beginning of the season. I thought the performance on the 100% renewable fuel was fantastic. It’s a huge step that we’re making as a series with Shell to run 100% renewable fuel. The first series in the United States to be able to do that. I didn’t notice any performance loss from the engine. I can’t speak highly enough about that step. We should be shouting that from mountaintops. It’s very cool what Shell has been able to provide us. I think the Chevrolet engine has adapted quite well to it. The drivability has been excellent.”
Will Power in the No.12 Verizon 5G Chevrolet heads into 2023 as the defending series champion and he is looking forward to a strong start to the defence of his championship saying:
“I think it’s the whole off-season of preparation. You’ve got simulators that you can go through setup items and somewhat keep sharp. It’s never the same as the real car. There’s no substitute for being in the real car. But everyone is in the same boat, and you’ve got to make the most of these very limited days. Then we turn up at St. Pete and it’s a track that suits me. It’s pretty tight, technical, got to brush walls to get it. Yeah, everything I like about qualifying is that track, and there’s not much time to think so you’re always in a corner. Yeah, always look forward to going to St. Pete.”