The DW12, by all accounts, is hitting the marks that are placed before it at every point. With two races, one on a temporary street and another on a closed road course with elevation changes through the back country rolling hills East of Birmingham, Alabama, completed with positive and some surprising results along the way … the biggest growing question developing was, OK, what will this platform and formula do on the most famous super speedway oval in the world?
On Wednesday several teams took to the track in Speedway, Indiana and held first in-season track test to shake down set ups of the DW12 in full Speedway trim. This configuration features new rear-wheel guards that are taller, lighter and have a slightly different shape than the sets being used on the road/street circuits as well as what will be used on the oval races at Texas Motor Speedway, Iowa Speedway and The Milwaukee Mile.
This excerpted and edited from SPEED -
Andretti Hits 218.6 At Indy Test
By Robin Miller – Posted April 04, 2012
Marco Andretti (Chevy), Scott Dixon (Honda) and Kanaan (Chevy) all topped 218 mph during the roughly six hours of running but that came courtesy of some help in traffic.
“I had a mega tow on that lap,” admitted Andretti, last year’s winner at Iowa who has a second and two thirds in his six starts at Indianapolis. “The best I could by myself was 216 and we’re not setting the world on fire but it’s only the first day.
“As a driver I want to run 240 but the car is fun to drive and it’s the same for everybody.”
“I’m convinced when we come back we’ll be be over 220 for qualifying,” said Will Phillips, the vice president of technology for INDYCAR. “It was a good day for feedback, the engine manufacturers found some issues early on that took a while to get on stop of but they did a good job and everyone was able to run this afternoon.”
Three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves and J.R. Hilebrand topped 216 mph while Justin Wilson ran 213, Mike Conway and Takuma Sato 212 and Ed Carpenter 207 but never got a hot lap due to some technical glitches.
Kanaan and Andretti tried running close to other cars and found it pretty exciting.
“These cars are wider and there’s a lot more turbulence,” said Kanaan. “I’m not concerned about the speeds, I just want to know `Is it going to be a good race?’ That’s the key.”
Ed Carpenter had an undisclosed issue that kept him from posting a fast speed, the four Lotus teams did not participate in the test [more on Lotus below] and rookies Simon Pagenaud and Josef Newgarden were running at Texas on Wednesday.
Rank, #, Chassis/Engine/Tire, Driver, Speed
1 26 Andretti, Marco D/C/F 218.625
2 11 Kanaan, Tony D/C/F 218.439
3 10 Dixon, Scott D/H/F 218.094
4 3 Castroneves, Helio D/C/F 216.942
5 4 Hildebrand, JR D/C/F 216.641
6 18 Wilson, Justin D/H/F 213.753
7 14 Conway, Mike D/H/F 212.767
8 15 Sato, Takuma D/H/F 212.573
9 20 Carpenter, Ed D/C/F 207.518
SPEAKING OF LOTUS
John Judd Jr. [the engine developer] took exception this paragraph in this week’s commentary on the Barber race.
“Not only is the Lotus/Judd engine strapped for cash and shy on horsepower (by an estimated 50 compared to Honda and Chevrolet), it’s a rarity right now because there are only five of them for their five drivers.”
“What you have reported is un-true, we are not strapped for cash. There is no evidence that the Lotus engine is 50 HP down on Honda and Chevy. It would not have been possible for Lotus cars to maintain position or overtake other cars in the races were that to be the case.
“And there are more than five engines in circulation. Spare engines were available throughout the weekend at St. Pete and Barber. I would be grateful if you would retract these false statements.”
Of course, all of this still begs the question, How come no teams associated with the “Lotus Legion” (Bryan Herta Autosport | HVM Racing | Dragon Racing | Dreyer & Reinbold Racing) were on the track … any track, for testing in Speedway configuration?
Further, when one looks at the sector lap times analysis from the performance of Dragon Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais during the #gpstpete – Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, one comes away with the distinct impression that on long straightaway top end speed, the DW12 outfitted with a Lotus/Judd engine is down on horsepower.
It is either that, or SeaBass is just deploying a small “drag chute” toward the end of each straight so that he then could step up his performance in the twisty sections where the four-time ChampCar World Series (#ccws) champion just shined.
… notes from The EDJE
** Article first published as Indianapolis Motor Speedway Conducts First In-Season Test on Technorati **