“We had an extremely productive test at Sebring," said Chris Berube, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager for the IndyCar Series. “The IndyCar engine homologation table allowed a fairly significant amount of change to the engine for 2014, including new turbochargers and fuel system revisions. Work on all of that started last year and this first track test is an exciting yet anxious time for the engineers that toiled over and tortured the new bits to push the performance level up while maintaining the competitive advantage in reliability Chevrolet has had in 2012 and 2013.
“The engine change-out mileage increases from 2,000 to 2,500 miles in 2014 so achieving a 25% increase in life simultaneously with a performance increase is the holy grail of engineering development. These pre-season manufacturer tests are our engineers' opportunity to see the fruits of their labor and receive direct feedback from our customers – the race teams and drivers. It is also the next phase of development where the new engine is integrated with the race car and the driver's feedback plus reams of data are collected and utilized to hone the drivability characteristic of the final race car package."
“Bottom line," Berube concluded. “When the first test of the season goes off like this one did, it is encouraging and rewarding, but there is a lot of data to analyze to go from good to great in the integration phase and our teams and technical partners are focused on that."
Chevrolet-powered IndyCar teams participating in the test were: Team Penske – Helio Castroneves, Will Power and Juan Pablo Montoya; Ed Carpenter Racing – Mike Conway; KV Racing Technology SH Racing – Sebastien Bourdais; Chip Ganassi Racing Teams – Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball and Ryan Briscoe and Panther Racing – Carlos Huertas.
In pursuit of its third consecutive IndyCar Series Manufacturer Championship, Chevrolet will continue pre-season preparations with two additional Chevy-only tests in February at Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, California, and Sonoma Raceway, Sonoma, California
DRIVER POST TESTING QUOTES:
MIKE CONWAY – NO. 20 ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET:
YOUR FIRST MANUFACTURER TEST FOR ED CARPENTER RACING HOW IS IT GOING?
“Well we had two days before Christmas and they went well. Just the case of working with my engineer. I had worked with him previously at Andretti when he was running Marco (Andretti). I knew a lot of the people on the team, a lot of the mechanics and stuff from previous teams. It was nice to see some familiar faces. We got a lot of work done, but then coming here for this one, and with the 2014 specs applies to the engine, there is a lot of stuff to get through. New for everybody so there are going to be changes all day to get it right and in the sweet spot. So far so good I’m pretty impressed with the power band and I think definitely an improvement from last year."
YOU ARE OUT HERE FOR THE FIRST TIME WITH A LOT OF YOUR FELLOW CHEVY TEAMS. IS THAT MORE COMFORTABLE FOR YOU OR WOULD YOU RATHER HAVE A LITTLE BIT MORE TIME CONSIDERING YOU ARE GOING TO BE ON THE HOT SEAT FOR THE FIRST RACE?
“No it doesn’t bother me. It’s good to have everyone here because at least you’ve got a benchmark to work at. I would rather be here with everyone and see where we are actually at I suppose. No, it’s good we still need to find some time, but I think we knew that from the previous test and we just have to keep working at it."
CARLOS HUERTAS – NO. 4 PANTHER RACING CHEVROLET:
TALK ABOUT YOUR FIRST INDYCAR TEST AND HOW IT IS GOING:
“It’s going okay, just getting used to the car is very different to what I’m used to in Europe. It went well on used tires and then on new tires just didn’t make the right changes. It didn’t improve as much as I wanted, but just in general getting used to the way the engine with the turbo works and stuff like that. It is going well I think."
HOW HARD IS IT TO JUMP IN WITH A TEAM THAT YOU HAVEN’T HAD A LOT OF TIME WITH OR ANY TIME WITH OTHER THAN SITTING IN THE SHOP OR THE OFFICE?
“It’s not that hard I’ve done it in the past, but it’s just when you drive you have to get used to things that I haven’t been used to. But the team has been great, the explained everything to me the best they can and they gave me as much information as they could. I think it’s never easy. You would like to have much more time with the guys to get to know them more, but in general I think it was okay."
WILL POWER – NO. 12 TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET:
TESTING SO FAR THIS IS THE FIRST TIME ALL THREE CARS, ALL THREE DRIVERS, HOW IS IT GOING SO FAR?
“Obviously we have the 2014 spec of the engine so just going through a few teething problems so we didn’t get that much running this morning. It is the first test of the year, I get run with Helio (Castroneves) and Juan (Pablo Montoya) and I think it will be a good year. I think we’ve all got pretty good feedback and work together to get a better car."
HOW IMPORTANT IS THAT CHEMISTRY BETWEEN THE THREE DRIVERS?
“Yeah, it’s always a tough situation the teammate thing because on one hand you want to beat them, but on the other hand you have to work together. It’s very easy to make a bad environment amongst competitive drivers, but I think you just have to be willing to work together. Put that aside off the track and when on the track you race as you race."
HELIO CASTRONEVES – NO. 3 TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET:
ON THE TEST: “Very happy with the work that Chevy did. I feel that they were constantly working during the off season, and I believe it is a great start for 2014."
HOW DID IT GO THE FIRST TIME ALL THREE OF YOU HAVE BEEN TOGETHER ON THE TRACK:
“It was fun. So far we have been able to collect a lot of data between the three of us. Having conversation about the car and trying to improve for the whole overall team. I felt that was great having Juan Pablo (Montoya) with us (Will Power and Castroneves). It just adds for the team and right now that is what’s happening."
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA – NO. 2 TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET:
ON THE TEST: “I think it’s a good day. We are just trying a lot of different things. It’s fun to be back in the car. Kind of struggled with the balance today, normally we have been running really good here. For some reason it has just been a little bit harder to drive today, but it’s okay we are just learning."
WHAT IS IT LIKE THIS IS THE FIRST TIME YOU HAD ALL THREE CARS ON THE TRACK AT THE SAME TIME? WHAT KIND OF FEEDBACK WERE YOU ABLE TO GIVE EACH OTHER?
“It’s interesting it seems like Will (Power) and myself we are struggling with the same thing on the car and Helio (Castroneves) is a little bit different. I think that is a good thing because we can relate and learn from each other so we will see."
RYAN BRISCOE – NO. 8 CHIP GANASSI RACING TEAMS CHEVROLET:
TALK ABOUT YOUR FIRST TEST HERE WITH CHEVROLET AND HAVING ALL FOUR CARS TOGETHER AND HOW IT FEELS:
“It feels great. It feels so good to be back doing a test knowing that it’s preparation for an entire season and with a team that we are hoping that is going to be extremely competitive. I’m excited. I had a really good first day here in Sebring, got through some set-up items and basic just tuning to understand my driving style to what they have developed already. Just trying to understand those kinds of things and it was a good day. We come out of the day knowing a lot more than we did going in. It’s a good start to the year."
TONY KANAAN – NO. 10 CHIP GANASSI RACING TEAMS CHEVROLET:
TALK ABOUT YOUR FIRST DAY OF FULL TESTING: “It was pretty good. We did a lot of miles. The engine worked pretty well so it was a trouble free day. I’m still getting used to the new car, the new team, but all in all I think it was a good day.
YOU KNOW SO MANY OF THE GUYS HERE. YOU HAVE A HISTORY WITH ALL THESE GUYS DOES THAT MAKE IT A LITTLE BIT EASIER TO COME IN AND WORK WITH A NEW CREW? “For sure, I mean obviously having Dario (Franchitti) here helps a lot, but a lot of these guys I knew because of Dario. Some of them we already worked together so it makes it easier for sure."
CHARLIE KIMBALL – NO. 83 CHIP GANASSI RACING TEAMS CHEVROLET:
TALK ABOUT YOUR FIRST FULL DAY OF TESTING WITH ALL FOUR TEAMS:
“It was good. I think as a team we really fed off each other today. I can’t go without saying how much we appreciated having Dario (Franchitti) around actually for additional perspective. He is very good at that. That was helpful, but as far as all four of us the day went reasonably flawlessly as far as on-track mechanical stuff. It’s nice to really get into the meat of it with the Chevy. The little bit of running we did before Christmas was an introduction and now we can dig out teeth into it and start to work on the car and get a direction to head before we get towards any more serious pre-season stuff. I’m pretty happy with the day. I’m really happy with how we worked as a team all four of us. I think that bodes well for us and hopefully not well for everyone else."
SCOTT DIXON – NO. 9 CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET:
WHAT IS YOUR OVERALL VIEW OF FIRST FULL DAY ALL FOUR CARS WORKING TOGETHER:
“Yeah it was really good. We had lots of different things to get through obviously and different sort of projects for each car. But the engine package just ran. We had a couple of little issues to work out, but you expect that with a brand new engine for the season. Really excited to see that it runs, it just runs. Kind of not what we are used to when you get a new engine. Went through a lot of changes on mapping and different engine stuff and made some really good progress I think for things to look at and things to improve on in the future. I don’t know I think all around we accomplished just about all the things we needed to on the check list, but more importantly it’s great to be back in the car after being out for a month so it was really nice."
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS – NO. 11 KV RACING TECHNOLOGY – SH RACING CHEVROLET:
TALK ABOUT YOUR FIRST MANUFACTURER TEST WITH YOUR NEW TEAM. HOW DID EVERYTHING GO?
“It was an interesting day very different conditions than we had last time. Last time was really windy but the grip on the track was much higher so we discovered very different issues with the car. So we are in the process of integrating everyone and make everybody work together so it’s been a good day, but pretty challenging. We have been fighting the car balance pretty big and then this morning we used the introduction of the new engine. We took it pretty easy so once we got going and discovered the problems we didn’t have so much time left and that was a bit of a crash course. It’s always interesting when things don’t work out the way you want them to then it makes you work harder and that is why testing is there. We have got a lot of work to do, but everybody has got a good understanding of why things are happening and how to fix them. So now we just have to get to work and come up with some solutions."