Andretti Autosport had an extremely strong start to their Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Friday.
Marco Andretti driving the No.27 United Fiber & Data Honda ended the day with the second fastest time overall, a 01:07.3576s ending the session in a Team Penske sandwich with Will Power fastest while Simon Pagenaud was third.
Speaking following the session, Andretti commented by saying:
The UFD car is on edge, but I think that’s where we need to be to be quick. I like the predictability of the car. I felt like I could drive it to the limit, which is important to be able to wring it out in qualifying. I’m pleased with the pace and the pace we had all through testing, so it’s good to keep the pace here and back it up. We really need to convert this pace into results, and I really think we can.
Takuma Sato who earlier this week launched his own wine brand and who took victory here in 2013 ended the day in fourth place overall with a fastest time of 01:07.5538s and speaking following the session Sato commented by saying:
It was a good day. It’s always good to be back in Long Beach, this is a special event and it’s always fun. We had a busy Practice 1 but we got it sorted out and in the second session it felt much better. We tried various setups across the car and it was quite a productive day. Today was actually the first time that I tried the red tires in practice because I missed the opportunity in St. Pete. It was a good feeling and I feel prepared for tomorrow.
We seemed to overstep it a little that session, just got a little bit too aggressive with the car. I was starting to protect the entry too much where I’m trying to turn in and the rears always threatening and on a street circuit you just can’t drive that way. It’s something that we need to pay attention to, make the right decisions and try to guess right for tomorrow. Make it so that I can really hustle the car. I almost felt like in that session it was starting to drive me, I just couldn’t attack it. We just need to make some changes and I have faith that if we make the right ones, we can get the No. 28 DHL car in the front row.
It was a mostly positive day. On black (primary) tires, I think, we’re in the top three cars. I missed the balance there a bit on the red (alternate) Firestones, but that’s the positive of using the red tires this year in practice – you can have an understanding of what they have to do before you go in to qualifying. If we just adjust that overnight, then the NAPA AUTO PARTS car will be looking good.