Dale Coyne Racing head to the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama this weekend at the Barber Motorsports Park circuit this weekend with Sebastien Bourdais having secured another podium last time out time out in Long Beach to remain in the lead of the Verizon IndyCar Series points standings.
Bourdais took victory in the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg and followed this up with a second place finish at Long Beach and looking ahead to this weekend’s race the Frenchman commented by saying:
I think being in the championship lead is a great story more than anything else, but it doesn’t change anything in our preparation. We’re preparing like any other race, at a track that I very much enjoy driving at and where the gap between the cars is like at Long Beach – very, very, very close. Which is also the beauty of INDYCAR these days. We had a bit of a difficult test at Barber last month where we weren’t very happy with the car and what we tried didn’t quite work. However, we then had a great test at Sonoma that allowed us to try some items for Barber, and we can’t wait to finally try those and see how they work out. Barber is a very demanding track both technically and physically. There are very long corners that are physically demanding. It might not be the most difficult circuit technically, but what makes it difficult is trying to find the right setup on the car. That’s the true test of Barber Motorsports Park. The corners are so long it kind of resembles an oval, where the quality of the car is what makes the difference on the timing sheet. To be able to put in a good time at Barber, your car needs to do what you ask it to.
Verizon IndyCar Series rookie Ed Jones has had a fantastic start to his career in the sport having secured two top ten finishes in the opening two events of the season and this is a trend that he will be hoping to continue this weekend.
Speaking ahead of the race he stated:
It’s a perfect start to the season with two top-10 finishes. It’s good to have a lot of momentum for the team and myself going forward. Barber will be the first track that we go to that we’ve actually tested at recently. Obviously, everyone else has also done that, but it gives us more knowledge going in. I think it’s going to be tough. The circuit is one of the hardest on the calendar both physically and technically. There’s a lot of long-duration corners and corners that require a lot of confidence. I qualified on pole for both (Indy Lights) races there last year and won race No. 1 in Indy Lights, so I’ve done well there in the past. I’m confident we can get the car sorted to work our way to the front again. I think my Indy Lights experience should help a lot, at least for track knowledge in certain places like Barber and just in general. The Indy Lights car is always on the edge, it’s a bit more loose and so it makes it, I find, a bit more challenging in the races to be fast throughout the whole race. Whereas in Indy car the cars are more settled. I feel like I have the confidence to push it further towards the limit consistently throughout the race in Indy car because of the experience I had in the Lights car.