AVONDALE, La. — official series release — Chris Owens/IndyCar photo —
From a secondary viewing spot at NOLA Motorsports Park, KV Racing Technology co-owner Jimmy Vasser confirmed what he saw on pit lane.
“I was impressed with the speed on the circuit for a first day,” the former Indy car driver said. “I think they’ll put on a great show.”
From the drivers’ viewpoint, lap times on the flowing and flat 2.67-mile road course are quick and they expect considerably faster speeds when the Verizon IndyCar Series returns with new aerodynamic bodywork kits for the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana on April 10-12.
Fourteen drivers representing six teams tested Feb. 10-11.
“(This course) is fun. I was amazed how the grip level on this place is really high,” Team Penske’s Juan Pablo Montoya said. “I think when we have the aero kits before we race, it’s going to be, ‘Wow!'”
CFH Racing’s Josef Newgarden anticipates a competitive race similar in part to last season’s inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
“It’s a really fun, flowing track. It’s kind of like a European circuit in some parts,” said Newgarden. “It has its challenges because it has bumps in some areas that you have to watch out for and then you have to try to get the most out of the smooth, long, flowing corners to make the cars faster. There is a lot of apex speed that you’re trying to carry around there where you’re fighting the car.”
“I think this track is similar to the Indianapolis road course for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, with very long straightaways and fast corners that lead onto the long straightaways. There is room to race here and with some of the hard braking zones, you’ll see quite a bit of passing. We had such great racing at Indy and hopefully we can replicate that here.”
The road/street aero kits supplied by Chevrolet and Honda will make their competition debut in the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 27-29.
A Promoter Test is scheduled April 10 for teams and drivers to become acclimated to NOLA Motorsports Park with the aero kits. Practice and qualifications are the next day and the 60-lap race is April 12.
CREDIT: Verizon IndyCar Series