|Marco Andretti testing tires|
Before breaking for lunch at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Verizon IndyCar Series drivers Helio Castroneves and Marco Andretti had turned almost 70 percent of the 200 laps for the Indianapolis 500. Neither seemed to mind the workout on the 2.5-mile oval.
"Every time you have an opportunity to be here, especially with helping Firestone develop even better tires, it's important," three-time Indy 500 winner Castroneves said after exiting the No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet.
"The beauty of working with Firestone is they try all the details, and that's why we're here. It's about grip – left side and right side – and what line you can take, and they really want your feedback after every run."
Firestone annually tests at IMS, and the advent of the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 29, 2016, added some weight to the morning and afternoon sessions. The introduction of aerodynamic bodywork components to the race cars this year and expected increase in 2016 lap speeds make testing essential.
|Firestone Engineers analyze test tires|
"It's very important to Firestone. We were here in 1911 (for the first Indy 500) and we're going to be here for the 100th running, so it's a great milestone for Firestone," said Dale Harrigle, chief engineer for Bridgestone Americas Motorsports and manager of race tire development.
Additionally, four drivers participated in concurrent team testing at IMS: the Chevrolet-powered cars of Tony Kanaan (No. 10 Chip Ganassi Racing), Ed Carpenter (No. 20 CFH Racing) and Simon Pagenaud (No. 22 Team Penske), along with the Honda-powered car of Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28 Andretti Autosport). Pagenaud noted some benefits of the testing could be implemented for the upcoming ABC Supply 500 on the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway tri-oval on Aug. 23.
"We don't get much testing during the season, so it's great to be here to get ready for next year already," Pagenaud said. "We're doing a lot of aero testing. With the new aero kit, we didn't really get a chance to extract the best out of it yet. There's so much potential; we're trying to understand all the bits and pieces. There are a lot of combinations that we're trying."