Herta stays on top in 2nd test session at COTA

Quick man Colton Herta
Quick man Colton Herta

Rookie Colton Herta proved that his morning fast time was no fluke as he was the only driver to dip into the 1m46s bracket in the faster afternoon session.

Herta's lap in his Harding Steinbrenner Honda of 1m46.626s was a full 1.4s faster than anyone else until the waning moments of the session when Will Power (Penske Chevy) put down a time of 0.48s slower then promptly spun trying to beat Herta's time.

By topping the speed chart in this test session, the 18-year-old Valencia, California native, who is the youngest full-time driver in the series, swept both of the test sessions on the first day of IndyCar Spring Training.

"I'm super happy with how the day went," said Colton Herta, the 2018 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires runner-up who made his NTT IndyCar Series debut in last September's season finale at Sonoma Raceway and is slated to run the full season this year.

"We did some great things to the car and I'm very happy with how the boys got everything together in time for this test," he added. "Everyone did a fantastic job and there were no issues with the car; it was perfect. We kept chipping away and kept finding time. By the end of the day, we were quickest by quite a margin. I can't wait for tomorrow now."

As a reference the F1 lap record in qualifying at COTA is 1m32.237s set by Lewis Hamilton in qualifying trim in 2018. While the IndyCars are not in qualifying trim yet, they are still over 14-seconds per lap slower than an F1 car. They might get within 10-seconds in qualifying trim and on red tires in March when they return for the race. We say might because it's rather doubtful.

Will Power 2nd quick
Will Power 2nd quick

But outright speed does not equate to good racing, so let's give the IndyCars a chance to shine come race day.

Helio Castroneves in the #3 Penske Chevy ended up third quick just over 1-second slower than Herta.

Felix Rosenqvist and Scott Dixon rounded out the top-5.

Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud, Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal, Dale Coyne Racing rookie Santino Ferrucci and Ed Carpenter Racing’s Spencer Pigot rounded out the top 10 in this test session by finishing in sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th place in their #22 Chevrolet, #27 Honda, #15 Honda, #19 Honda and #21 Chevrolet, respectively.

"We were trying to get it into a good (setup) window where you can make small adjustments on the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet," Power said. "We took some big swings at it today and (were) trying to understand when the tire comes in and how long it lasts, and what package we want to run. We wound up with a lot of big changes.

"I think the track is phenomenal," the 2014 NTT IndyCar Series champion added. "It's got every sort of corner you can dream of. I think all the drivers are going to love to keep coming here."

A second day of testing is set for Wednesday, with six more hours of on-track time. The NTT IndyCar Series will return to COTA from March 22-24 to conduct its first race on the spectacular road course, the INDYCAR Classic.

Test sessions are scheduled for 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2-6 p.m. ET Wednesday.

Session 2 Results

Pos No Name FTime Diff Gap Laps FSpeed Engine Team
1 88 Colton Herta 1:46.626 –.—- –.—- 21 115.132 Honda Harding Steinbrenner Racing
2 12 Will Power 1:47.104 0.4786 0.4786 28 114.617 Chevy Team Penske
3 3 Helio Castroneves 1:47.695 1.0691 0.5905 36 113.989 Chevy Team Penske
4 10 Felix Rosenqvist 1:48.045 1.4193 0.3502 37 113.619 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
5 9 Scott Dixon 1:48.047 1.4216 0.0023 28 113.617 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
6 22 Simon Pagenaud 1:48.058 1.4324 0.0108 32 113.605 Chevy Team Penske
7 27 Alexander Rossi 1:48.122 1.4958 0.0634 30 113.539 Honda Andretti Autosport
8 15 Graham Rahal 1:48.341 1.7152 0.2194 32 113.309 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
9 19 Santino Ferrucci 1:48.385 1.7593 0.0441 22 113.263 Honda Dale Coyne Racing
10 21 Spencer Pigot 1:48.399 1.7729 0.0136 38 113.249 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
11 7 Marcus Ericsson 1:48.406 1.7799 0.0070 28 113.241 Honda Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsport
12 5 James Hinchcliffe 1:48.410 1.7843 0.0044 28 113.237 Honda Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
13 2 Josef Newgarden 1:48.421 1.7952 0.0109 22 113.225 Chevy Team Penske
14 26 Zach Veach 1:48.569 1.9435 0.1483 26 113.071 Honda Andretti Autosport
15 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay 1:48.710 2.0838 0.1403 21 112.925 Honda Andretti Autosport
16 98 Marco Andretti 1:48.714 2.0885 0.0047 20 112.920 Honda Andretti Herta Autosport with Curb-A
17 60 Jack Harvey 1:48.901 2.2757 0.1872 27 112.726 Honda Meyer Shank Racing with Arrow SPM
18 18 Sebastien Bourdais 1:48.924 2.2982 0.0225 30 112.702 Honda Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan
19 20 Ed Jones 1:48.975 2.3487 0.0505 28 112.650 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
20 23 RC Enerson 1:48.996 2.3697 0.0210 27 112.629 Chevy Carlin
21 59 Max Chilton 1:49.266 2.6403 0.2706 30 112.350 Chevy Carlin
22 4 Matheus Leist 1:49.498 2.8717 0.2314 16 112.112 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises
23 30 Takuma Sato 1:49.524 2.8981 0.0264 18 112.085 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
24 32 Kyle Kaiser 1:49.875 3.2489 0.3508 34 111.727 Chevy Juncos Racing
25 14 Tony Kanaan 1:51.079 4.4533 1.2044 6 110.516 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises

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