Tire test gives drivers first look at Pocono
Marco Andretti was a toddler the last time an Indy car turned a lap in competition at Pocono Raceway.
On April 10, the third-generation racer will get the opportunity to turn a high-speed lap on the "Tricky Triangle" as one of four drivers participating in a Firestone Racing conducts a tire evaluation test in advance of the July 7 IZOD IndyCar Series race.
Four-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti of Target Chip Ganassi Racing, 2012 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Simon Pagenaud of Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports and three-time series championship runner-up Will Power of Team Penske will join Andretti of Andretti Autosport during the test, which is open to the public.
Firestone engineers will use the Indianapolis 500 tire specification as a baseline and then test a number of compound and construction alternatives. Driver feedback, race team engineer input and tire performance data collected from the test will all be evaluated to determine the best tire specification to develop for the race weekend.
The aerodynamic specification of mandatory and optional elements used at Indianapolis and Auto Club Speedway will be utilized. The track lap record is 211.715 mph set in 1989.
"We'll get the driver reaction, see the tire wear, look at the speed traces and decide whether it's the correct direction (with the aero package)," INDYCAR vice president of technology Will Phillips said.
Franchitti is the only driver of the foursome to have perspective of the tri-oval, having competed on the track in a stock car in 2008.
"I think it will be a very fun place to drive an Indy car," Franchitti said. "They resurfaced it and put catch fending up (since he raced there) and I think it will be an amazing race for our cars."