Chip Ganassi Racing’s Max Chilton made his first appearance in the Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone Fast 6 competition at the Hitachi Grand Prix at Watkins Glen on Saturday.
Chilton, who drives the No.8 Gallagher Chevrolet will start the race from sixth place just behind team mate Tony Kanaan in the NTT DATA Chevrolet after setting a time of 01:23.0063s.
Paddock Eye asked Chilton – How was the performance of the car today?
It was great. I actually felt more comfortable in the start of FPT yesterday than I did today, but it’s a weird track here. It took so many laps for the tires to come in. Out of the pits you think they’re in, but you’re three seconds off the pace, and you just think, where on earth is this time going to come from. But it just takes a lot longer for the tires to actually fully get to their peak temperature where you just have to keep pushing and pushing, and I found there was more performance in just doing as many laps as you could, trying to perfect what you were doing than actually trying to find the temp here with setup. I think our strategy of going straight out on green all three qually sessions and just running to the flag, it paid off in the end.
It’s a challenging circuit, but I was happy, and I think actually our tire deg is one of the best. It seems to be better than my teammates’, so hopefully tomorrow if we get a clean start, it should be a good one.
Chilton has raced on circuit’s like Watkins Glen during his time in Formula One such as the Spa Francorchamps circuit in Belgium, which has very similar characteristics to The Glen and when Paddock Eye asked – Do you take any kind of inspiration from your experience in Formula 1 here?
Obviously I haven’t raced here in Formula 1. I know this place is not going to be overly easy without DRS or Push-to-Pass — well, you’ve got a bit of Push-to-Pass, but I think everyone is going to be on a limb, and it’s not going to be particularly easy to overtake, even though there is quite a long section between Turn 1 and the Bus Stop. So I think you’ve just got to make sure you get a clean first lap.
Strategy will play a part in it, but I don’t think it’s going to be a hugely sort of changing race. I think you’ve just got to make sure you hold your position at the start and then keep digging. It’s going to be a very physical race.