IndyCar News: Palou ends up on top at Day 1 Pre-Season testing

Defending IndyCar champion Alex Palou turned the overall fastest time in Pre-Season IndyCar testing on the Sebring Short Course on Monday.

Alex Palou, #10 Chip Ganassi IndyCar Sebring, FL – during the 2024 Test at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida. (Photo by Joe Skibinski | IMS Photo)

After Andretti’s Kyle Kirkwood topped the morning session, Palou came back in his #10 DHL Honda to lead the timesheets with a lap of 52.0885s.

Christian Lundgaard made it a Honda 1-2 with the 2nd best time of 52.1075s in his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda.

Josef Newgarden was the fastest Chevy at 52.1297s in his #2 PPG Penske Chevy.

Josef Newgarden in his #2 Penske IndyCar. Photo courtesy of Penske Entertainment

Colton Herta was 4th quick in his #26 Andretti Gainbridge Honda, 0.10s behind.

Alexander Rossi rounded out the top-5 in his #7 Arrow McLaren Chevy, 0.16s behind.

“Nowadays, we don’t get as many tests as we would like,” Palou said. “We would always want to have a lot of test days, but honestly, it’s super important when we are only one week and a half out of St. Pete.

“We want to go through a lot of the engineering list that we’ve been thinking about all offseason. We won’t have enough time. But it’s a way to get the rest of the drivers, just all the crew, all the team together and try and get some ideas in person.”

Testing will continue Tuesday at the historic Florida circuit, with all teams continuing to run without the hybrid system that will be introduced later this season. The 2024 season also opens in Florida on Sunday, March 10 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding.

Just 0.5008 of a second separated the top 11 drivers on the day. 0.9833s separated all 15 drivers on track today.

“This is a big warmup, the first time our car has been on track since Laguna (last September),” Kirkwood said. “Just working through all the gremlins and getting everyone up to speed. That’s what this test is about, getting the rust off and getting ready for St. Pete so we don’t have any of these gremlins and can roll out in practice at St. Pete and just go fast.”

“Good first day here,” said Arrow McLaren driver Pato O’Ward.

Pato O'Ward
Pato O’Ward Sebring, FL – during the 2024 Test at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida. (Photo by Joe Skibinski | IMS Photo)

“I had a little bit of a different crew today as I was in David’s car, getting all the systems up and running, but we had a good, smooth day. Tomorrow, I’ll be back with my No. 5 crew, and it will be all about just trying to explore different areas so that we can arrive in St. Pete as strong as we can. So far, it’s been a good program.”

Day 1 IndyCar Pre-Season Test Times

Pos No Name Team Engine Time Behind Gap FL Laps Speed
1 10 Alex Palou Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 52.0885 0.000s 0.000s 17 47 115.419
2 45 Christian Lundgaard Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda 52.1075 0.0190 0.0190 15 33 115.377
3 2 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Chevy 52.1297 0.0412 0.0222 46 54 115.328
4 26 Colton Herta Andretti Global Honda 52.1909 0.1024 0.0612 16 43 115.192
5 7 Alexander Rossi Arrow McLaren Chevy 52.2522 0.1637 0.0613 59 72 115.057
6 6 Pato O’Ward Arrow McLaren Chevy 52.2540 0.1655 0.0018 40 41 115.053
7 9 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 52.2666 0.1781 0.0126 47 54 115.026
8 27 Kyle Kirkwood Andretti Global Honda 52.3373 0.2488 0.0707 16 60 114.870
9 3 Scott McLaughlin Team Penske Chevy 52.5433 0.4548 0.1568 9 19 114.420
10 21 Rinus VeeKay Ed Carpenter Racing Chevy 52.5554 0.4669 0.0121 23 57 114.394
11 30 Pietro Fittipaldi Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda 52.5890 0.5005 0.0336 42 43 114.320
12 66 Tom Blomqvist Meyer Shank Racing Honda 52.7416 0.6531 0.1526 33 53 113.990
13 78 Agustin Canapino Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevy 52.7639 5 LAPS 0.0223 37 42 113.942
14 41 Sting Ray Robb A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevy 52.8352 0.7467 0.0713 46 60 113.788
15 18 Jack Harvey Dale Coyne Racing Honda 53.0767 0.9882 0.2415 15 63 113.270
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