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Fernando Alonso to test IndyCar for first time May 3 at IMS

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Fernando Alonso will have his first run in the jointly entered McLaren, Honda, Andretti Autosport entry in a one-day test on Wednesday, May 3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, ahead of his debut in the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

The two-time Formula 1 World Champion will be there a few days after his next F1 race at the Russian Grand Prix which takes place on April 30. He will make his first visit to the Andretti team this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala.

The test will take place from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) on the 2.5-mile oval. This will be the first career laps on an oval for him, and as such, why he’s getting an extra day whereas fellow Indianapolis 500 rookies Ed Jones, Jack Harvey and Zach Veach will have the standard rookie orientation program later in May as all three have raced on ovals in the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires series. Alonso, as a rookie, is required to complete the ROP as well.

Fans can watch testing for free from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. from the Turn 2 viewing mounds, Museum parking lot and South Terrace Grandstands.

In an interview on “Trackside” with NBCSN pit reporter Kevin Lee and INDYCAR communications chief Curt Cavin on 1070 The Fan radio, McLaren executive director Zak Brown said Alonso and IMS had a date set but not yet revealed.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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