INDYCAR: Practice Power; Defending Champion Will Power Leads Opening Practice of 2015 Season

RaceChaser Staff Sprints & Midgets 0 Comments

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – official series release — Autopsport photo —

Will Power would be among the first to raise a hand in support of the new aerodynamic bodywork platforms, which are making their competition debut this weekend in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The initial practice session on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit confirmed his opinion and heightened his excitement.

The reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion breezed past the 2014 Verizon P1 Award-winning lap time of 1 minute, 1.8668 seconds produced by Takuma Sato in the Firestone Fast Six. In fact, five drivers posted lower lap times – without the added grip of the Firestone Firehawk alternate tires that they’ll be allowed to use in the three rounds of qualifications March 28.

“As we are starting to understand the new Chevrolet aero kits, it’s clear that they have done a proper job in the design and development,” said Power, who won the season-opening race last March and earned the pole in 2010-13 at St. Petersburg. “The kits produce massive downforce, low drag and the cars are absolutely glued to the track.

“Obviously, as we go along in the year we are going to learn more and more about what we need to push for wins.”

Power Team Penske teammates Juan Pablo Montoya (1:01.6996) and Helio Castroneves (1:01.7000), Scott Dixon (1:01.7777) and Sebastien Bourdais (1:01.8439) also were quicker around the circuit than the 2014 pole time using the Chevrolet aero/engine package.

Second-year driver Jack Hawksworth (1:01.8713) was the quickest Honda driver.

Bourdais holds the track record of 1:00.920 (106.710 mph) set in the inaugural Indy car race in 2003.

“I certainly hope to see records fall at St. Pete,” said James Hinchcliffe, who posted the seventh-quickest lap time. “There is still some bit to come and a lot of development to do. This car is going to get better and better through the first half of the year as we understand more and more.”

Watch streaming of practice and qualifying augmented by real-time Timing & Scoring and the IMS Radio Network broadcast on www.indycar.com.

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