The test marked the first opportunity for the drivers and teams to test their Honda-powered Dallaras acquired less than three weeks ago on the racetrack.
KV Racing Technology drivers Oriol Servia and Will Power, who combined to turn 304 laps, sat atop the time sheet. Servia’s fastest lap of 52.7035 seconds, 114.072 mph was less than three-tenths of a second slower than the fastest lap set two weeks ago when the veteran IndyCar Series teams tested on the 11-turn, 1.7-mile course.
“I’m really proud of the team to arrive with the level of preparation that we did with the amount of time that we had to do so," said Jimmy Vasser, co-owner of KV Racing Technology. “We pretty much ran error-free for two days and that was our goal. We ended up running reasonably quick I think for the conditions. The track was very rubbered in, so comparatively it’s tough to tell. We’re pretty happy to put that many miles under our belt and get started with this car."
Adapting to a slightly different race car proved to be an easy undertaking for the drivers, both veterans and rookies alike.
“I didn’t really know what to expect coming into the test, but I am happy with the end result," said Conquest Racing driver Franck Perera, who debuts in the IndyCar Series following a runner-up showing in Champ Car Atlantic in 2007. “Once we were able to get some track time in things were good. I was able to learn a lot about the car. I pushed a little too hard at times and made some mistakes. However, overall it was a good experience."
Servia, a veteran of 126 Champ Car starts, said: “As I told the guys, it feels like a race car. It’s not that big of a difference. It’s still an open-wheel car. The guys did a great job putting it together in a very short time, and everything is running smoothly. We just need to run some miles and learn the tricks of every little thing in the car. Everything is looking good."
The teams were glad the first shake down of their cars came at the familiar setting of Sebring before tackling the challenge of an oval at Homestead-Miami Speedway March 24-25.
“It was perfect to come to a scenario that we know," Servia said. “We’ve been testing in Sebring for many years. Next week in Homestead we’re really going to learn how the car feels on an oval. Although most of us on the team have done ovals before, it’s been a few years, so we’re going to have to take off the rust, but it should be good. We’re all excited to get back on ovals again."
In addition to the teams that tested at Sebring – Conquest Racing, Dale Coyne Racing and KV Racing Technology – HVM Racing and Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing are expected to participate in the Homestead-Miami test. Roth Racing drivers Marty Roth and Jay Howard, who did not participate in the IndyCar Series Open Test at Homestead-Miami in February, also are expected to test.