Ryan Briscoe didn’t get to test for his new employers in 2013, so on Friday, he was finally able to step back into a Chip Ganassi Racing IndyCar for the first time as one of their full-time drivers since 2005.
Briscoe raced CGR’s fourth car at last year’s Indianapolis 500, finishing 12th, before racing selected events with Panther Racing the rest of the year. He entered IndyCar as a rookie with CGR in 2005, in the team’s third car. Two years of excelling in part-time opportunities in 2006-’07 led to his full-time seat with Team Penske, which he held from 2008 through 2012.
Now, he will be back full-time in IndyCar after a fractured 2013 that saw him split his time between open-wheel and sports cars. Briscoe expressed a great sense of appreciation for the stability after completing his first laps at Sebring last Friday in the No. 8 NTT Data Chevrolet.
“It feels great. It feels so good to be back doing a test knowing that it’s preparation for an entire season and with a team that we are hoping that is going to be extremely competitive,” Briscoe said, via a Chevrolet manufacturer release.
The quartet of CGR cars were on hand as part of a 10-car Chevrolet manufacturer test, so Briscoe had the opportunity to test alongside teammates Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Charlie Kimball. Briscoe will work with Eric Cowdin, who was his engineer for a period at Penske, while Kanaan shifts to the Chris Simmons-engineered No. 10 Target Chevrolet.
“I’m excited. I had a really good first day here in Sebring, got through some set-up items and basic just tuning to understand my driving style to what they have developed already,” Briscoe explained. “Just trying to understand those kinds of things and it was a good day. We come out of the day knowing a lot more than we did going in. It’s a good start to the year.”
Briscoe will be among a host of IndyCar drivers in action at next week’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, Jan. 25-26. He’ll co-drive with Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia in the No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R in the GTLM class of the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Briscoe has past experience at the Rolex in Daytona Prototypes, but this will be his first race in the factory Corvette program.