IMS president: IndyCar test coming to road course

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The chances of a future IZOD IndyCar Series event on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course may be growing, as IMS president Doug Boles has told Curt Cavin of The Indianapolis Star that at least one IndyCar will test on the circuit in early September.

According to Cavin, the dates of Sept. 4 and 6 are being considered for the road course test. In addition, Boles said that the car will be ran in both directions around the IMS road course.

Formula One went clockwise around the course in its run at IMS in the 2000s, and the track’s MotoGP event (pictured) uses a counter-clockwise layout.

Late last month, Boles mentioned a “conceptual” possibility of an early May doubleheader that featured the IndyCars and the newly-created United SportsCar Racing, which would open festivities leading up to the 98th Indianapolis 500 on Indy’s legendary 2.5-mile oval.

Also, Hulman & Co. president Mark Miles said in May that improvements to the Brickyard’s road course would be made should an IndyCar road race come to pass.

As touched upon by MST colleague Tony DiZinno earlier today, an IndyCar race on the IMS road course may not be everyone’s cup of tea but could work out economically – especially for the IndyCar teams that are based in the Indianapolis area, who would presumably benefit from lower costs.

Alonso enjoys maiden Toyota LMP1 test, ends as second-fastest rookie

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Fernando Alonso took his first step towards a possible entry to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018 by testing an LMP1 car for the first time with Toyota in Bahrain on Sunday.

Two-time Formula 1 world champion Alonso has made no secret of his desire to race at Le Mans, having signed a deal to race in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January as preparation for a possible entry at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Toyota confirmed after Saturday’s FIA World Endurance Championship finale in Bahrain that Alonso would be testing its TS050 Hybrid LMP1 car in the traditional rookie test on Sunday.

Alonso was given the car for the bulk of the five-hour test day following an initial shakedown by Sebastien Buemi, completing 113 laps in total – more than any other driver – and posting a best lap time of 1:43.013.

“It was a great day,” Alonso said. “Testing an LMP1 car is always a nice thing for any racing driver because these cars are amazing to drive. They are very consistent throughout a stint which is a positive thing.

“I have wanted to test a car like this for a long time now and today I could achieve that, so I am happy.”

However, Alonso did not finish as the fastest rookie, with that honor instead going to Pietro Fittipaldi, who was the final driver to drive the Porsche 919 Hybrid ahead of the closure of the German marque’s LMP1 program.

Alonso is now set to head back to Europe before a test in United Autosports’ LMP2 car on Tuesday as part of his Daytona preparation, before then returning to the Middle East for the F1 season finale in Abu Dhabi next weekend.