Kanaan shifts to Chris Simmons-engineered No. 10 at today’s IndyCar test

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The trophy side of Tony Kanaan’s week is out of the way, and today restarts the business side of things for the Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver.

Kanaan is one of 11 IndyCar drivers set to test today at Sebring, 10 of whom are on hand for a Chevrolet manufacturer’s test. The others: his three CGR teammates Ryan Briscoe, Scott Dixon and Charlie Kimball; the trio of Penske drivers Juan Pablo Montoya, Helio Castroneves and Will Power; Ed Carpenter’s Mike Conway; KVSH’s Sebastien Bourdais and Panther’s Carlos Huertas. A.J. Foyt’s Takuma Sato is the only Honda driver listed.

When Kanaan tested with CGR in December, he was still in the No. 8 NTT Data Chevrolet before the confirmation of Briscoe to that car, and Kanaan’s switch to the No. 10 Target car. That makes today the first time he’s officially testing with his 2014 engineer Chris Simmons, rather than longtime engineer Eric Cowdin.

But as TK explained Wednesday night, they already feel up to speed.

“In 2003, Chris was my second engineer (at Andretti Green Racing), so it was me, Eric and Chris,” Kanaan said. “I’ve known him for a while – we raced Indy Lights against each other in 96/97. I have not worked with him on IndyCar side, but in the DP race, he’s the engineer on the 02 car (at Daytona).

“That makes it a lot easier. Eric has worked with Ryan before. It’s all there, the confidence is there, and we know each other. There’s no adapting issues; it’s just more me getting used to the setup.”

And next week Kanaan, Dixon, Kyle Larson and Marino Franchitti will share one of the CGR Ford EcoBoost Riley Daytona Prototypes in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Kanaan raced in a GT class Porsche last year, co-driving with longtime friend Rubens Barrichello, and welcomes the return to a prototype this time around.

“It will definitely be different … but if I had to choose, I’d rather be in the DP,” he said. “I was getting passed every three corners last year. I’d rather pass. It’s easier when you have a more powerful car to make the pass, so you don’t have to stay out of the way.

“We’re in a good spot as a team having won 5 of the last 8 there. There’s a lot of new things we introduced to the team, chassis, engine, everything. We’re very capable and just need to make it last.”

Hartley’s F1 grid penalty streak continues in Abu Dhabi

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Brendon Hartley’s record of receiving a grid penalty at every Formula 1 race he has started is set to continue in Abu Dhabi this weekend after Toro Rosso was forced to change part of his Renault power unit following the last race in Brazil.

Since making his F1 debut at the United States Grand Prix last month, Hartley has faced a grid drop at all three races he has started so far amid ongoing reliability difficulties for power unit supplier Renault.

After being forced to retire from the last race in Brazil two weeks ago due to an engine issue, Hartley has received a 10-place grid penalty for Abu Dhabi after it was confirmed Toro Rosso had changed the MGU-H on his power unit.

Hartley is yet to score any points in F1, having retired from two of his three races so far to make his debut run to P13 in Austin his best result to date.

The Toro Rosso driver finished 20th in FP1 and 19th in FP2 during Friday’s practice sessions in Abu Dhabi as he continued to get to grips with the Yas Marina Circuit.