KV Racing wraps up Infineon test
A trio of drivers that included young up and coming star E. J. Viso, Formula One legend Rubens Barrichello and IndyCar superstar Tony Kanaan, tested with KV Racing Technology for two days (February 25-26) on the of around the 2.303-mile, 12-turn Infineon Raceway permanent road in Sonoma, California.
Team Penske’s Will Power posted a 76.98sec lap in chilly conditions and standard tires. With the benefit of the faster Firestone Red tires used in qualifying, Power reckoned the 2012 Indy cars could go even faster.
“I think by the time we come back to race at Infineon, I think low 1:16s are possible,” he told SPEED.com. “Maybe more. The Reds are worth a second themselves. The new car’s better in the fast corners and better under braking; that’s where we make up all the extra time.”
Viso behind the wheel of the No. 5 CITGO | PDVSA – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone machine ran the most laps, 143, over the two days and produced the fastest times. He was third fastest overall among the seven drivers testing and the fastest KVRT pilot with a time of 78.50 seconds on Saturday and a 77.36 second lap on Sunday. Viso concluded his test with a race simulation late Sunday afternoon.
Commenting on the test Viso said, “We just finished two intensive test days in Sonoma, which were very successful for the team. We developed a lot of new things. Each session we ran we went faster and faster. By the end of the second day we put on a race setup and simulated a race and the result was impressive. We ran a very consistent pace and were very fast. We just need to continue to work to find those extra tenths of a second to put us at the front of the grid.”
Barrichello who shared the No. 11 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone with his “brother” Tony Kanaan, logged a total of 94 laps over the two days running very competitive times both days. This was Barrichello’s second IndyCar test, both with KVRT (tested at Sebring in January) and his first laps at Infineon Raceway. He spent Saturday getting acquainted with the track and working his way through a development program. On Sunday he spent the morning session validating data acquired on Saturday, then working on some new changes, before turning the car over to Kanaan.
"Once again I am very pleased to have been able to give the team my feedback on the car,” said Barrichello. “It was great to get to know the Infineon track, it was a hard track to learn, but if everything can fall into place and I do run with IndyCar and KV Racing Technology for the season, it has been very valuable. Tony was in the car this afternoon (he let me have another half day) and its great to work with a "brother" that is keen to have me in the series. It has been a good couple of days and I am pleased. I hope I have helped the team further."
Kanaan ran only the afternoon session on Sunday and completed 39 laps. He spent his track time confirming the data the other drivers had collected and worked on developing the new car.
“I didn’t get a lot of time in the car because my “brother” (Rubens Barrichello) liked it so much he wouldn’t give it back to me. When I did get in for a short time we got some work done. We continue to make progress and develop the new car. Every test we collect more information for my cookbook.”
Commenting on this weekend’s test KVRT General Manager Mark Johnson said, “We are pleased with the way the test went. We completed everything on our check list without a problem. The engineering staff had a great plan coming into the test and the mechanics and drivers all did a great job executing it. We still have a lot of work to do, but we are on schedule with our preseason testing and development program.”
This was the first time KVRT has tested on a permanent road circuit. All the testing at Sebring International Raceway was based on street course configuration and tires.
Barrichello, 39, is the only driver in Formula One history to make 300 or more starts having contested 322 races (out of 326 entered) over a 19-year career (1993 – 2011). The talented Brazilian, who was runner-up in the Formula One championship in 2002 and 2004, has earned 11 victories, been on the podium 68 times and scored 106 top-five finishes and 171 top-10 showings. Last season, Barrichello competed for Williams – Cosworth.
Kanaan, 37, is entering his 15th U. S. based open-wheel season and 11th in the IZOD IndyCar Series. The 2004 IndyCar Series champion and perennial championship contender has 14 IndyCar wins (15 career) with 52 podiums (58 career), 85 top-five showings (101 career) and 111 top-10 performances (159 career) in 149 IndyCar starts (242 career). Kanaan holds the series record for most consecutive IndyCar starts with 148. He finished fifth in the championship race last year with 367 points.
Viso, 26, is entering his fifth IZOD IndyCar. One of the most exciting young talents in the series, Viso scored four top-10 finishes with a season best seventh place showing in Texas Race No. 2 in 2011. In 67 career starts, the outgoing Venezuelan has earned 13 top-10 finishes with a career high third place showing on the oval at Iowa in 2010 and a street/road course best of fourth at St. Petersburg in 2008 in just his second IndyCar start.
KV Racing Technology was founded in January 2003 and joined the IndyCar Series in 2008. The Indianapolis based team is owned by successful venture capitalist Kevin Kalkhoven and 1996 IndyCar Champion Jimmy Vasser. Veteran Motorsports manager, Mark Johnson is the team’s General Manager. Johnson is assisted by Team Manager Tom Wurtz, Technical Director Eric Cowdin and Operations Manager Steve Moore.