FORT WORTH, Texas (Feb. 20, 2012) – IZOD IndyCar Series drivers Tony Kanaan, Alex Tagliani and Ryan Briscoe will participate in a private test Monday at Texas Motor Speedway in an effort to determine the aerodynamic package for the series’ new car on high-speed ovals in advance of the league's open test set for March 13 at the 1.5-mile speedway.
“It’s really important to figure out before we go back there so I’m pleased we’re working really close with the tech guys from INDYCAR to make it happen,” Kanaan said.
Texas Motor Speedway’s Firestone 550k, June 9, is the second oval event on the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series schedule. Indianapolis Motor Speedway marks the first time drivers will race on an oval this season, following four street/road circuits. A street/road course test is scheduled for March 6-7 and 8-9 at Sebring International Raceway (the middle day for Firestone Indy Lights testing).
“We’re going to Texas to make sure of and define what specification we should run the car in aerodynamically, but also it’s the first opportunity that INDYCAR has had to look at the suspension (alteration by Dallara) to change the weight distribution,” INDYCAR Vice President of Technology Will Phillips said. “The intention is to run the cars in similar configurations. They’ll have different setups because I’m not specifying a setup, but similar aerodynamic specification and then step through an agreed program with all three groups.”
Dallara-provided aero bits that were tested in the full-scale wind tunnel last month in North Carolina will be used (“one will go to each,” according to Phillips). Also, a lightweight spool for the Xtrac transmission will be employed for the first time on oval testing. The only other development session on a 1.5-mile oval was at Homestead-Miami Speedway in December.
Tagliani’s previous time in the Lotus car came on the Homestead-Miami Speedway road course in January. The Lotus test team is comprised of crew members and the three drivers from Team Barracuda BHA, Lotus Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and Lotus HVM Racing.
“I would say (Texas is) quite important because it’s a logical step to continue the development of the car and to make sure we give all the information to the INDYCAR staff for improving the racing and making sure we’re where we need to be when we get to that sort of track,” the 2011 Indianapolis 500 pole sitter said. “For Lotus it’s important too because we have not had the same amount of time in the car with the engine to play around as the others.
“We (Simona de Silvestro, Oriol Servia and he) have done Homestead and Sebring and now going to an oval is good for Lotus for the development and to see where they want to be. It seems as if there’s a new development every week, but when you’re not in the car every week it’s ‘OK, how many more developments have we had since we tested in Homestead?’
“Every bit you put on the car will be a decision factor in how our racing is going to be when we get to the Texas race. It’s a very important test – series, Lotus perspective and the team for understanding what this aero does and what this car does on an oval.”
Monday's test at Texas Motor Speedway is closed to the public. No spectators are allowed.