“I couldn’t be happier to be back in the car, and in the chassis that Dan [Wheldon developed], the ‘DW12’ as it will be called," Hunter-Reay told Speed.com.
"It was definitely special to do the first laps at Sebring in the new Dallara-Chevy. Everything went very well. It’s still early days at this point, and we’re just going through checklists at this point of everything we have to do with the car and with the engine."
“The new Dallara is very nimble and very responsive—light on its feet, you could say," he said. “I think there’s a lot of potential there. The Chevy twin-turbo is a blast to drive, too. Great sounds, power, you name it. There’s still a lot to come from the entire package; we were just trying to log more miles instead of go for lap records, but you can feel the potential of the entire car. It was a good test; it was only the second time the engine did a serious track test, and from my end, the engineers seemed to be happy with what we accomplished."
“You can definitely feel the new car is built for road courses and ovals, whereas the previous car was only built for ovals," he clarified. “We have a lot of work to do to really dial it in, but the responsiveness–even at this early stage–from the chassis is what stands out the most. We almost didn’t touch the setup on this test, but from the feeling I got, you can’t really liken it to a Lola or Reynard Champ Car; it has its own feel. Very unique, but a lot of fun to drive."
“I’m going back in a few weeks and will have a new seat which should help give me a better feel," he said. “They’ve changed a few things in the cockpit—things are constantly evolving with the car. That’s what it’s all about—new car, new engine, new formula."
“I loved having all of the support there!" he said. “That’s what a driver wants. I loved pulling up and seeing the big Chevy/Ilmor trailer, the test team transporter, the huge setup with the full crew there, all of the Brembo [brake] people there—all the vendors there. I’m thankful they’ve asked me to be involved. It means a lot. I had to be very detailed and precise on my feedback after every run to give everybody there—I hope I get to do a lot more testing with them."
“It’s a little bit bittersweet when you look at the amazing support Honda has given us over the years—how equal and reliable things have been, and what they’ve done with Ilmor, which was a partner in that engine. They’ve been very good to me and the series, and I’ll be forever thankful for that, but things change and we’re moving forward with Chevy. I’m looking forward to waving the American flag for them, for sure. I’m already thinking about getting Chevy their first win.
"That would be a great thing to do and would make me really proud. An American boy racing around with an American engine—that’s pretty cool. I’m really looking forward to the future with Chevy and GM as our partners at Andretti Autosport."