Andretti Autosport had seven drivers in action as the Verizon IndyCar Series conducted a test at Watkins Glen International in New York state ahead of next months IndyCar Grand Prix at The Glen.
Along with Verizon IndyCar Series regulars Ryan Hunter Reay, Alexander Rossi, Marco Andretti and Carlos Munoz, Andretti had their three Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tyre’s drivers Dean Stoneman, Dalton Kellett and Shelby Blackstock were all in action for the team. Stoneman completed 38 laps with a fastest time of 01:27.14s and speaking about the test he commented by saying:
Yesterday was a new learning curve for me and I had been really looking forward to it!“We went out this morning for 25-laps, two stints consisted of new-tire runs. We started by getting a feeling for the car with a quick out-lap and an in-lap, so the engineers look over that data. I took about five laps for me to get a feeling for the car. It was really enjoyable to drive the car and over the runs we were able to get quicker and quicker, making improvements more and more. I was looking at Alexander [Rossi]’s data compared to mine and just seeing where I could improve. There are some high-speed corners that just rely on confidence from me – knowing what the car is going to do and the way it behaves. The car is quite physical to drive, but it is a great car. I think I did a great job this morning, bare in mind that I have never driven an Indy car before.”
Shelby Blackstock completed a fastest time of 01:28.76s completing 35 laps in Carlos Munoz’ No.26 Honda and speaking following the test he commented by saying:
The day went pretty well yesterday and it was great to be back at Watkins Glen – it was awesome to have my first IndyCar test there especially since that is where it all started for me in racing,“The day started out good, we progressed really well. Once we put on the sticker tires, I was able to feel the real weight of the steering. Luckily, when Carlos [Muñoz] jumped into the car right after me, he said it was a bit excessive too. That was the only fall back I had. We were going to try the steering a bit lighter for the afternoon session, but unfortunately the rain started and we didn’t have the opportunity to go back out. Overall, I am really happy with the experience – I had a blast in the car and seeing how the Andretti INDYCAR team is ran.
Canadian Dalton Kellett drove the No.27 United Fiber and Data Honda completing 50 laps with a fastest time of 01:29.96s and speaking following the test he commented by saying:
It felt great to be at Watkins Glen and get behind the wheel of an Indy car. The track was a lot of fun – there are a lot of high-speed corners, “Getting used to the physicality of the car and track has definitely been an adjustment. The steering wheel was not as heavy as I thought it was going to be but there’s definitely a lot of force on the neck. We were focusing on building up to getting used to the car during the morning session yesterday since these cars are a lot different than the Indy Lights cars. There’s lot of power – the response from the Honda engine is very good – so it was definitely an adjustment to what I am used to with the IL-15. The car is a great package. It’s a lot of fun to drive, just the way the car handles the curves and the way you can really tackle the entries – and I think that was one of the things that I had been working on (in the morning session) was just getting used to the down force and using the grip on entry. There is a lot of potential there with the car, having more than twice the down force than I am used to. Unfortunately, our time was cut short in the afternoon session due to rain, so we were unable to run as much as we had wanted. It was great working with Marco and his team; they were very helpful to getting me up to speed with the car.
Director of Engineering and Race Operations with Andretti Autosport Rob Edwards commented by saying:
I think it was good from a team perspective.“All three of the Indy Lights drivers did exactly what we were looking for them to do. We really felt by having the [Indy] Lights drivers drive first, then having the regular drivers get in the car, gave them a chance to really think about what had happened in the morning and how to build on it for the afternoon session. I think all three of them did really well, but from the team perspective we have some unfinished business, as we were unable to complete the program due to weather. Overall, we are happy with the first half of the day, but disappointed with the second half purely because of the unfortunate weather.
The test was cut short as a result of rain but the team managed to plenty of mileage on the circuit ahead of the IndyCar Grand Prix at the Glen. For information about the race and to purchase tickets visit – http://www.theglen.com/?homepage=true