Newgarden Likes What He Sees In IndyCar Windscreen

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, May 1 2018

Josef Newgarden gave Indy car windscreens a good review on Monday.

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer

Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion and point-leader Josef Newgarden ran hot laps with INDYCAR’s windscreen prototype after Monday’s open test on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway for drivers with previous Indy 500 experience.

It was the second on-track test of the prototype windscreen attached to INDYCAR’s new-for-2018 universal chassis, following four-time series champion Scott Dixon’s test on the ISM Raceway 1-mile oval outside Phoenix.

“It was fascinating,” said Newgarden, driver of the No. 1 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet. “It was totally different for an open-wheel car. You’re not used to having a windscreen that big in front of you, but it was interesting to try it out. The most interesting thing to me was the visor changes (on his helmet). Going from a fully smoke visor to a clear visor was better. It helped with the visibility and the clarity.

“There’s small improvements to be made, especially with the clarity with the visors and the perception to see through it. It was easy to make it work, I didn’t have any major issues with it and I think INDYCAR did a nice job.”

While additional testing of the prototype is planned, INDYCAR has not issued a timetable for implementation of the windscreen on cars in competition.

Formula One teams are competing this season for the first time with a halo over the driver’s cockpit mandated by the sanctioning FIA. 


Tony Kanaan was fastest in Monday’s Verizon IndyCar Series open test of INDYCAR’s new universal chassis around at the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval for drivers with previous Indy 500 experience. The 2013 Indy 500 winner and driver of the No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet posted a top lap of 226.181 mph to lead a 21-car field through six hours of on-track activity.

“Every year we come back (to Indianapolis) the first day, everybody has a huge smile on their faces,” said Kanaan, at 43 the series’ elder statesman. “I love it, I love this place. I mean, it’s magical. I wish we could do this every race. Got a lot of laps in, a lot of learning to do.”

Simon Pagenaud was second-fastest in the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet at 225.910 mph, with Andretti Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian’s Marco Andretti third at 225.637 mph. While all the drivers’ best laps were aided by aerodynamic tows from cars in front of them, Kanaan also racked up the fastest non-tow lap of 223.240 mph.

“Always such a pleasure to drive here,” said Pagenaud, the 2016 series champion who is looking to add an Indy 500 victory to his two INDYCAR Grand Prix wins on the IMS road course. “Having the opportunity to be one of those drivers to hit the track at 240 miles an hour _ it’s pretty cool. We did a lot of work today. It was really a good day of testing.”

The open test allowed drivers and teams to become acclimated with the 2018 Indy car and its universal aero kit in superspeedway trim, in advance of the 102nd Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 27 (11 a.m. EDT, ABC and Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network).

More than 1,800 laps were turned as teams ran alone and in small groups to better understand nuances of the new package.

“I think it was pretty smooth,” said Kanaan, the 2004 series champion. “You saw everybody came up to speed pretty fast, which is pretty remarkable, in my opinion. To me, it was a lot quicker down the straightaways, which was quite fun. It was like ‘back in the day.’ You definitely feel the speed going down the straightaway. You have to hang on into the corners. A little bit different, to be honest, but fun.”

The test day also featured the return to IMS of Helio Castroneves. The three-time Indy 500 winner now is competing full-time in Team Penske’s Acura prototype program in IMSA’s WeatherTech Sports Car Championship. But team-owner Roger Penske promised Castroneves the opportunity to return to INDYCAR for the Month of May in another bid to join A.J. Foyt Jr., Al Unser and Rick Mears as the only four-time champions of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

Castroneves placed 10th on the speed chart with a lap of 224.673 mph in the No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet. Castroneves finished second to Takuma Sato, then of Andretti Autosport, in last year’s Indy 500.

“It’s great to be back…awesome,” said Castroneves, who will join fellow-Brazilian Kanaan as a 43-year-old on May 10. “It’s like you’re playing with your old toy that (you) miss so bad. It’s really great to be back in INDYCAR. Twenty years I’ve been doing it, so the details, I’m like, ‘Hey, I remember this!’^”

Four other past Indy 500 winners participated in the open test. Scott Dixon, the 2008 Indy 500 champion, was fifth in testing in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda at 225.448 mph; defending race-winner Sato was 15th in the No. 30 Mi-Jack/Panasonic Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing at 223.510 mph; 2016 winner Alexander Rossi was 18th in the No. 27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda at 222.732 mph and Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay was 19th in the No. 28 DHL Honda at 222.727 mph.

“We had a very productive day today,” Sato said. “We learned a lot for the first time (with the new aero kit), obviously, learning a new superspeedway package at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Talking about IMS, it’s just an unbelievable feeling and experience.

“It doesn’t matter what car or which number you are in, because the moment I did an installation lap, I flashed back to last year. It’s so nice to be part of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s been a great day with gorgeous weather. We can’t ask for better than that. We did try quite a few directions to see which one works best, and I think Graham (Rahal) and I are both happy and I think we gathered a lot of good data, so it was a good day.”

IMS testing continues Tuesday with the Rookie Orientation Program for newcomers Pietro Fittipaldi, Kyle Kaiser, Matheus “Matt” Leist and Robert Wickens. Additionally, Danica Patrick will make her return to Indy car racing official during a veteran refresher session Tuesday afternoon that also includes Jay Howard and Sage Karam.

A Chevrolet and Honda manufacturer test day is scheduled from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday and will feature 11 drivers.


Monday’s combined open practice results for the Verizon IndyCar Series’ 102nd Indianapolis 500 at the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway with rank, car number in parenthesis, driver, engine, session, time/speed and total laps completed: 

  1. (14) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, Session 2, 00:39.7912-seconds/226.181 mph, 62
  2. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, Session 2, 00:39.8388/225.910, 108
  3. (98) Marco Andretti, Honda, Session 2, 00:39.8871/225.637, 45
  4. (88) Gabby Chaves, Chevrolet, Session 2, 00:39.8884/225.630, 81
  5. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, Session 2, 00:39.9205/225.448, 86
  6. (18) Sebastien Bourdais, Honda, Session 2, 00:39.9420/225.327, 107
  7. (21) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, Session 2, 00:39.9421/225.326, 82
  8. (10) Ed Jones, Honda, Session 2, 00:39.9743/225.145, 96
  9. (20) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, Session 2, 00:40.0205/224.885, 63
  10. (3) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, Session 2, 00:40.0582/224.673, 109
  11. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, Session 2, 00:40.1027/224.424, 82
  12. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, Session 2, 00:40.1052/224.410, 113
  13. (23) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, Session 2, 00:40.1987/223.888, 92
  14. (1) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, Session 2, 00:40.2326/223.699, 125
  15. (30) Takuma Sato, Honda, Session 2, 00:40.2667/223.510, 89
  16. (59) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, Session 2, 00:40.3138/223.249, 75
  17. (26) Zach Veach-(R), Honda, Session 2, 00:40.3947/222.802, 67
  18. (27) Alexander Rossi, Honda, Session 2, 00:40.4073/222.732, 80
  19. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, Session 1, 00:40.4083/222.727, 74
  20. (5) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, Session 1, 00:40.6016/221.666, 95
  21. (60) Jack Harvey-(R), Honda, Session 1, 00:40.7999/220.589, 89

Total Laps for Combined Sessions _ 1,820

Note  _ All cars use the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series Dallara IR-12 universal aero chassis with Chevrolet or Honda twin-turbocharged V-6 engines and Firestone Firehawk tires.

(R) _ Denotes Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, May 1 2018
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