IndyCar: Romain Grosjean turns first laps on an oval (Update)

Romain Grosjean felt like a real rookie as he turned his much anticipated first laps on an oval yesterday during a team test at World Wide Technology Raceway. With his rookie test now in the books the Dale Coyne Racing with RWR driver is ready to take part in his first oval race, the Bommarito Automotive Group 500, on August 21, 2021.

The driver of the #51 Nurtec ODT (Rimegepant) Honda turned a productive 166 laps (the third most laps of the day) around the 1.25-mile egg-shaped oval which features varying degrees of banking in each corner.

Romain Grosjean on an oval for the first time as the sun sets and the track cools

While there was a lot for him to learn throughout the day, Grosjean had a successful test. His fastest lap time of 25.3625 seconds was less than half of a second behind the best lap of the day and quicker than oval veterans Sebastien Bourdais and Ed Carpenter.

“Today was pretty good. It was my first time on an oval, and it’s very, very different from everything I’ve done before. So, obviously, there’s a lot for me to learn on ovals, from the feel of the car, to how to go fast to the feeling of knowing what I need in the car. I want to say that everyone who thinks driving on an oval is easy, is getting it completely wrong! It’s actually very tough, and special, but I had a lot of fun,” shared Grosjean.

“We went through the day and gathered a lot of information. In that aspect it was super positive. We worked well and we learned that we could extract more performance from the car which is great. At the end of the day, on the last, long run the car felt very nice and I was happy with it. I think that was key for us today, getting some key data, getting me comfortable in the car and being able to attack on a long run. Now we can put it all together when we come back in a few weeks for my first oval race. I’m really looking forward to it.”

The Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway takes place on August 21. 2021 with practice, qualifying and the race all on the same day.

July 27, 2021 

With his anxious family looking on, former F1 driver Romain Grosjean, turned his very first laps on an oval Tuesday driving the #51 Dale Coyne Racing Honda.

Due to the dangers of oval track racing, Grosjean’s wife, Marion Jones, did not want Grosjean to race on any ovals in IndyCar – just road and street circuits.

Grosjean’s wife Marion and his two sons Sacha and Simon look on as Grosjean turns his first laps on an oval.

However, now that IndyCars have a Halo and Windscreen, Romain was able to convince her to let him try one oval race, and it was agreed he would test and then race at Gateway (World Wide Technology Raceway) next month.

Testing today started in the daylight and continues until 11:00pm local time. Times should fall as the sun goes down and the air temperatures drop.

Grosjean is still running a high downforce setup and is running 7th quick so far.  Once he gets comfortable, the team will begin to trim the car out and his speed will increase.

Gateway Test Times as of 5:00pm local time

Pos No Name Time Behind Laps Speed Engine Team
1 27 Alexander Rossi 25.30 0.00s 43 177.858 Honda Andretti Autosport
2 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay 25.31 0.01 27 177.786 Honda Andretti Autosport
3 26 Colton Herta 25.61 0.31 23 175.676 Honda Andretti Autosport
4 18 Ed Jones 25.65 0.35 36 175.440 Honda Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan
5 3 Scott McLaughlin 25.88 0.58 59 173.856 Chevy Team Penske
6 29 James Hinchcliffe 25.92 0.62 23 173.604 Honda Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport
7 51 Romain Grosjean 26.10 0.80 29 172.387 Honda Dale Coyne Racing w/Rick Ware Racing
8 14 Sebastien Bourdais 26.26 0.96 17 171.313 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises
9 21 Rinus VeeKay 26.28 0.98 19 171.202 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
10 4 Dalton Kellett 26.43 1.12 50 170.273 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises
11 20 Ed Carpenter 26.83 1.53 34 167.691 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing