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Mar 19, 2014 - 06:21 AM
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Power Paces Final Day Of Verizon IndyCar Series Open Test At Barber
Posted by: ASkyler on Mar 19, 2014 - 06:21 AM
IndyCar News
Power Paces Final Day Of Verizon IndyCar Series Open Test At Barber


For the second consecutive day, Will Power topped the time chart as Verizon IndyCar Series wrapped up a two-day Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park.

Power, driving the Chevrolet-powered No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car, recorded a lap of 1 minute, 7.0608 seconds. He posted a best lap of 1:07.6492 on March 17. Power recorded 62 laps in the session that was delayed because of cold temperature and an intermittent mist in the morning.

"Coming back to Barber, hopefully we found a happy place," said Power, who's won the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber twice in its four years. "Obviously the temperature will be a lot different, and I think that brings out imbalances in the car. It was so cold today and there was so much grip that I think it was hard to get good reads on changes.

"We'll see where we go and head to St. Pete. It's going to be really tight."

The depth of the field was evident on the time sheet: 17 drivers were less than a second off Power's pace. Justin Wilson in the No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing entry was .0038 of a second back and the quickest with the new twin-turbocharged Honda engine.

Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon and Takuma Sato joined Power among the top five on the time sheet both days. Also for the second consecutive day, Honda and Chevrolet split the top 10 on the time sheet.

Dixon, who has been the runner-up each of the four races at Barber Motorsports Park, had a best lap of 1:07.0791 in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car. Sato, driving the No. 14 ABC Supply car for A.J. Foyt Racing, was fourth at 1:07.3314. Ryan Briscoe, who returns to Chip Ganassi Racing Teams for the first season since 2005, was fifth quick (1:07.3705) in the No. 8 NTT Data car.

Andretti Autosport rookie Carlos Munoz laid down a field-high 121 laps over the two days.

"I learned a lot these two days," he said. "Also, the team tested out a lot of different things, so we were able to get a lot out of it. I think, personally, I need to work a lot more to get used to the car. The circuit was quite tough; there was a much more downforce than I'm used to having come from Indy Lights. I'm definitely more comfortable at this test than previous ones. I think we've made a lot of progress, and today was better than yesterday. Each time I get in the car is better than the last, so I'm just really looking forward to St. Pete."

 

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The Verizon IndyCar Series start on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., on March 30 (3 p.m. ET, ABC). Barber hosts the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama four weeks later.

DAY 2 NOTEBOOK:

Chris Berube contends that some of the best innovations come to fruition from constraints.

The program manager for Chevrolet Racing (photo below) pointed out features of the 2.2-liter, direct-injected, twin-turbocharged V6 engine fueled by E85 that will be used for the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season. Behind the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car, which was used as a model for the stressed member of the car, was a 2014 Chevrolet Malibu with a 2-liter, direct-injected, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine to note the relevance between the racing and consumer products.

"There is a linkage. Similar technologies that we're racing with are for sale in our vehicles," Berube said. "That's part of the value of why we race is these linkages and technology transfers to the showroom."

Within the INDYCAR constraints for the engines supplied by Chevrolet (with partner Ilmor Engineering) and Honda Performance Development, engineers seek performance advantages within the rules through - and other items - managing the air and fuel mixture for more power and increased fuel economy.

Engine manufacturers have some leeway in development, such as a 20 percent larger volume plenum (the chamber or reservoir of air that supplies the engine) for 2014 and new valve sizing and porting of cylinder heads. They're also up against an increased durability mandate for the 18-race season to 2,500 miles between overhauls. Each entry is allowed four fresh engines for the season, with the count starting at the Open Test this week at Barber Motorsports Park.

"Those are pretty big challenges for an engineering team to execute on," Berube said.

Honda for 2014 has joined Chevrolet in developing and producing a twin-turbocharged engine. Both use the BorgWarner Turbo Systems' model 7163, which is new for 2014.

***

Upgrades to the Dallara chassis and evaluation of a steering damper have been initiated by INDYCAR with Verizon IndyCar Series driver input.

The chassis enters its third year of competition on the most diverse set of racetracks in motorsports, including the 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit for the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 28-30.

Carbon fiber panels bonded to the exterior and interior sides of the cockpit (photo below) supplement the Xylon anti-intrusion panels introduced in 2008. The additions will increase the chassis' side impact integrity by 60 percent.

Additionally, a carbon fiber reinforcement ring is being added to increase the structural integrity of the cockpit opening. The upgrades will add about 10 pounds to the rolling chassis. Work, which began in January, is being conducted at Aerodine Composites Group in Indianapolis. The update will be required for all cars entered in the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 25.

"Part of racing is always is an evolution," INDYCAR President of Competition and Operations Derrick Walker said. "The rules change and there are things you'll do this year because you never saw them last year."

Upgraded Helmet TestingA modification of the headrest surround for road and street courses reduces the low G force levels usually seen on bumpy street circuits when the driver's helmet buffets the headrest. The Kevlar covering, which was hard after being painted, has been replaced by Nomex. The Nomex wraps three different densities of Confor Foam and EPP (Expanded Polypropylene) foam. The Confor Foam addition didn't affect high-end G force impact performance in testing conducted at the Center for Advanced Product Evaluation in Westfield, Ind.

Additionally, EPP, an engineered plastic foam material utilized in the fourth-generation chassis and in molding driver seats, will replace carbon panels on the outsides of the drivers' thighs.

The road course rear wheel pods have been strengthened to match the ones utilized on ovals. Its shape has not been altered.

INDYCAR commissioned Dallara to investigate a steering damper. The hydraulic device built into a steering rack will have its initial test in the near future. Walker said power steering in the future hasn't been ruled out.

DAY 2 QUOTES:

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "Coming back to Barber, hopefully we found a happy place. Obviously the temperature will be a lot different, and I think that brings out imbalances in the car. It was so cold today and there was so much grip, I think it was hard to get good reads on changes. We'll see where we go and head to St. Pete, it's going to be really tight."

JACK HAWKSWORTH (No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport Honda): "We had a really solid couple of days. The weather made it difficult because of a few stoppages, but it's our first test together on a proper road course - Sebring's more of a street circuit track - and I thought we worked through some really good stuff today. The BHA guys did a really great job and I'm pretty happy with where we're at. We'll make a couple of tweaks but I've not seen anything yet that worries me, so we're in good shape."

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 34 Cinsay Honda): "Yeah, we had the chance to test the No. 34 Cinsay a lot the past two days. Maybe we were not in the position that we expected, but it's testing. I learned a lot these two days. Also, the team tested out a lot of different things, so we were able to get a lot out of it. I think, personally, I need to work a lot more to get used to the car. The circuit (Barber Motorsports Park) was quite tough; there was a much more downforce than I'm used to having come from Indy Lights. I'm definitely more comfortable at this test than previous ones... I think we've made a lot of progress, and today was better than yesterday. Each time I get in the car is better than the last, so I'm just really looking forward to St. Pete."

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 25 Snapple Honda): "Unfortunately we didn't make a lot of progress the past two days. A lot of the answers we found today, we'll have to retest and come back when it's hotter. We're really questioning a lot of our reads just because of the low temperatures. Obviously we're not really pleased with the pace, but we're really making some strides with the Honda side...the drivability side - I'm really pleased with, we just need to get the balance right for when we bring the Snapple car back next month."

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): "It was a good test. We had track conditions shorten the test a bit, but it was the same for everybody. I'm pretty happy with the things we were able to work through. We still have a bit to do before we come back; we're certainly not where we need to be. Where we ended up today is not where the DHL crew should be at the moment. We know some areas we need to close the gap on and we'll continue working."

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda): "It was a solid two days for the United Fiber & Data crew. Obviously we would have like the weather to cooperate a little bit better, but I think we got through a solid chunk of our program considering slightly reduced running. The end of the second day here at Barber was pretty frustrating; some things didn't quite work out as planned but we got a lot of work done. Primarily working with Honda and getting everything sorted as best we can... like I said, solid couple of days. Hopefully the things that we learned here not only translate for when we come back next month, but can pay dividends as early as St. Pete."

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 National Guard Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "Pace-wise the day didn't go quite as planned. I thought we would be more competitive, particularly coming off yesterday. We tried some bigger things today to try to learn a lot more and I think we learned, but unfortunately we didn't find the pace. But at the end of the day, that's what testing's all about. We're learning and I have all the confidence in the world that we're going to be taking this thing in the right direction no matter how it looks here and now. Oriol and I both struggled with the same things and that's why we brought him. We need some help getting this pointed in the right direction and I think he will be very influential in that process."

ORIOL SERVIA, No. 16 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "We didn't finish where we wanted, that's obvious. Yesterday we only made one run due to different mechanical issues and we were P6. The same thing happened this morning. When we started we were P6, within half a second of the fastest guys, which had all run, so it was looking good but as the track gripped up we just couldn't progress. We really missed working on the car yesterday. I just couldn't make the car turn basically. We had a lot of understeer that we couldn't really dial in. That's what happens when Indy car racing is so competitive. It's really my first day of testing and because of our limited running yesterday we really couldn't try a lot of things as we usually would in a test like this. Because it was raining this morning, it was really a one-afternoon test. That's all we had and it's frustrating but we need to understand that we were very limited in the amount of time we had and the things we could try. It was a good warmup. I really like everybody that I worked with and I still have a good feeling that we can figure this out. Every member of this team has done it in the past so I'm sure we can do it again."

JUSTIN WILSON (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda): "I think it's great, I just want to know where it puts me on the grid for the race here. Obviously nowhere, so you just have to take it with a pinch of salt. We like the progress that we've made to the car and the work that the team is doing. It's a complete new set of guys, working with Michael Cannon, that just keeps getting better and better every time we run. The last two days have been all about gelling as a team, coming together more than anything else, so I think that helps us going into St. Pete. We've got some good ideas we want to try but as far as today goes, when we come back here the track is going to be a lot warmer, it reacts totally different and the set-up probably needs to change. Probably half the things we think we learned will get thrown out the window. You just have to be careful, I think we're trying to take it very steady and one step at a time."

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): "It's been a very productive two days. We've been unlucky in terms of the weather-it was wet in the morning so we didn't run and the afternoon was cold so that won't replicate for the race weekend. Nevertheless we did a lot of the test program that we wanted to do and saw how the car reacted. It was a very positive performance wise and the feedback. It's been a good preparation and we are ready to go to St. Petersburg."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): "It was definitely a good day. We started out good. We had a little issue in terms of the engine, but nothing bad. The Hitachi Team Penske boys did a great job in putting the car together and bringing it back. For St. Pete a lot that we try here might not apply, but I'm really confident going into St. Pete. I just can't wait to go there and start all over again."

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "We got behind the track there a little bit at the end, but overall I'm really happy. The Verizon Team Penske did a good job. I feel that I'm ready and looking forward to St. Pete."

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