Oriol Servia Completes Successful Lotus Test in Sebring
Lotus DRR driver Oriol Servia completed two successful days of testing at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida. The Spaniard got behind the wheel of the Lotus-powered Dallara DW12 for the first time Tuesday and again today as he participated in engine testing for the Lotus test team.
This week marked the third in a series of tests conducted for the Lotus test team, which is comprised of crew members from Lotus DRR, HVM, and Bryan Herta Autosport. The goal for the test was to check a few more boxes off of the "to do list" and continue further engine developments as well as setup work, and that's exactly what the Lotus test crew did. Servia completed 110 laps (183 miles) yesterday and logged in a total of 135 laps (225 miles) around the 1.66 mile short road course. Unfortunately, today was a cut a little bit short and the Lotus test crew wasn't able to get everything in as planned. Fortunately, Servia was still able to get track time in this morning as he recorded a total of 25 laps (42 miles) for today.
"It has been awesome to finally get a taste of the car for ourselves after hearing comments on it from all of the other drivers and teams," said Servia. "I really liked it. We were able to get a good feel of the Lotus engine and the Dallara. The first day we didn't get to do what we wanted because the engine got held in customs and that didn't help. However, on the second day we did lots of laps and we got a lot of data so we were able to do a number of things with the engine and the car. We learned a lot, which is what you want. For today, we got a lot of good laps in and started to be more competitive on lap times. We are still far from where we are going to be, but we are getting closer to the faster guys and it's encouraging. We are definitely getting there. I am very excited about this season for IndyCar, Lotus, and the Lotus DRR team. Lotus has a solid package for us to work from. I am encouraged by the progress that Lotus and the Lotus test teams of Lotus DRR, Bryan Herta Autosport, and HVM Racing are making with this car. I am looking forward to the season opener at St. Petersburg."
Dennis Reinbold and Robbie Buhl, Lotus DRR team owners, were both on hand for the test and were pleased with the progress and results. "We had a good overall test. We got a lot of miles in and made a number of changes on the car, which seemed to add some speed. We are pretty happy with our progress and we think that we are coming along very well. Oriol ran a lot of laps and just got comfortable in the car. It was our first time working with him so that was good, and we are really happy about the chemistry we are building up with our engineering staff and Oriol. We had the opportunity to work closely with Lotus and EDL and it all went well. We are pleased with the way everyone worked together as Lotus teams and with all of the progress that we made on the car," commented Reinbold.
"We definitely made a lot of progress and had a pretty successful test. It was good for Oriol to get in the car and get a sense of where it was going. Yesterday was a productive day and went according to plan. We were able to put more miles on the motor and make more chassis changes that helped to improve the car. For us to not get a full day of running today wasn't a part of the plan and it's unfortunate to miss that bit of mileage, but we will be back on track shortly," stated Buhl.
Equally satisfied with the test results was Lotus IndyCar Manager, Olivier Picquenot. "We definitely learned some things over the two day test," he said. "We didn't get to complete the full three days of testing but, overall, it was very positive because Oriol did a very good job at trying to work on the setup as well as the engine. We did a good 225 miles and, from a technical aspect on behalf of Lotus and EDL, we are very pleased. Oriol was great to work with and was very positive. Lap after lap he gave good feedback and we are very happy."
Last week, Bryan Herta Autosport driver Alex Tagliani took to the Homestead-Miami road course and HVM pilot Simona De Silvestro completed the first test run two weeks ago at West Palm Beach and at Sebring International Raceway. Both drivers recorded valuable mileage and data for the collaborative group.
The next Lotus test will occur in a few weeks and will be at a different track, which will allow Lotus and the Lotus test teams to continue to develop the engine and the suspension of the car. The first of the Lotus production engines are due to arrive soon and the Lotus DRR team will be able to begin testing their car at the end of the month in preparation to have a successful season opener at St. Petersburg, FL on March 25th.