Kanaan gets first test with Ganassi today (Update)


Tony Kanaan

After the morning session at Chip Ganassi Racing’s test at Sebring International Raceway, Tony Kanaan and CGR’s managing director Mike Hull discussed their first day testing together. Hull also touched on the team’s new relationship with Chevrolet, which the team announced it would be switching to for the 2014 season.

Chris Berube, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager, IndyCar Series, offered his thoughts on the partnership as well.

Mike Hull: (On Chevrolet) “Well, whenever you enter into a new partnership you want to get off to a good start, and today is not necessarily the first day of this partnership because we’ve been working with Chevrolet since we made the announcement some time ago, but we’re happy to be on the race track with Chevrolet today. It’s not so much a comparison about where we’ve been, it’s about how we’re going to work moving forward with our new partner. That’s really the key for us, and what that is creating and opening up the communication streams that we had between our four drivers and our team itself in combination with the team of people at Chevrolet."

Kimball and Kanaan

(On Kanaan) “Actually, in a way, it’s a good thing that Tony’s already driven a Chevrolet car because he doesn’t need to concentrate on the differences between that and a Honda product. He can just concentrate on what we do as a team with the chassis. And it’s kind of an interesting comparison, or dynamic, of what we have going on today because we have the Honda history, which has been a really special time in our lives at Chip Ganassi Racing for many, many years, we have that going on, but with Tony we also have a fresh perspective on where Chip Ganassi stands in terms of how it creates an on-track product by comparison to where he’s been in the past. So it’s a big day for all of us here in terms of understanding how to make our product better."

Tony Kanaan: “I try to (bring a fresh perspective). It’s a team that, they’ve been together for a long time and they’ve been very successful, so I’m actually trying to listen more than I’m talking. I have some things that I think I can add to it, and I’m doing whatever I can to send the message across. Obviously, Eric (Cowdin, Kanaan’s engineer) and I, we’ve known each other for a long time. Chris Simmons was my second engineer at Andretti, with Eric, so it’s all familiar faces. If I can bring something extra, to improve what they have already, it’s great. So that’s what I’m trying to do. Still getting used to everything, it’s my first day on the job so it’s still a little weird."

Chris Berube (Chevrolet Racing Program Manager, IndyCar Series): “We believe these things are partnerships, with all the Chevy teams. This is our first chance to be at the track together, and it’s very much about building that relationship, the trackside relationship. We’ve had some time prior to today to get to know each other off the track since the end of the season, but we’re very excited to be here today and to have Chevy power in the Chip Ganassi Racing team camp. So far so good today, and we’re anxious to hear their feedback.

12/04/13 Today at Sebring International Raceway, IndyCar Series driver and Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan is participating in his first test with Chip Ganassi Racing since announcing he would join the team for the 2014 season. Below are quotes from Kanaan and teammates Scott Dixon and Charlie Kimball on the test. Also, attached are several photos for your use on web, social, etc. More will be available on media.indycar.com in the next few minutes and will be updated throughout the day.

Tony Kanaan: "I'm excited, obviously. It's a new challenge for me. I have a lot of things to learn today as far as the way (Chip Ganassi Racing) runs things here. I'm just enjoying it. It's a really good day for me. I can't complain."

Scott Dixon (2013 IZOD IndyCar Series champion): "Today is more comparison stuff. Go over some of the late development things we had streaming through for the season, and obviously, the big compare between Chevy and Honda and see where we need to work and see what area are good. There are a lot of new relationships, so it's good to get an early test in before Christmas and start working on relationships that we hope prosper in the new year."

Charlie Kimball (2013 race winner) : "It's good to be back in the car. It's nice to be back at the race track and focusing on 2014. It's our first chance to try the Chevy and it's exciting. It's exciting for us and it's exciting for them to get a fresh perspective on things. It's going to be really different. We have a lot of work for the day and it will give a direction of which way we need to head in the next few weeks before we really start preseason testing in January and February. We're looking forward to getting a good baseline here and moving forward from there.

(About working with Tony Kanaan): "It really is neat to have Tony on board. We've enjoyed getting to know each other, at least I have. We've had fun, partly at the engineers' expense and partly on our own. It's been good, and when we get in the car, the relationship will develop more."