IndyCar’s first day of testing has started at Barber Motorsports Park. Some 18 drivers have already lapped underneath the official track record in the morning, due in part to a track resurfacing.
Of those 18, the top four times were set by Chevrolet-engine runners. Will Power, defending Barber race winner, led the field at 1:08.4984 ahead of James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Helio Castroneves.
Scott Dixon led the Honda runners, half a second back of Power in fifth.
Simona de Silvestro showed well in her first full field run with a Chevrolet engine. After being saddled with the Lotus a year ago for HVM, de Silvestro clocked in ninth in the morning session in the No. 78 KV Racing Technology entry.
Simon Pagenaud, Ana Beatriz (Dale Coyne Racing), JR Hildebrand and Sebastien Bourdais were unable to set representative times in the morning. All turned three laps or less.
UPDATE: 7:00 p.m. EST: Power’s dominance continued into the afternoon session of IndyCar testing at Barber. All drivers except Dario Franchitti improved their fastest laps from the morning. Power got down to a new fastest lap of 1:07.8625.
“I’ve never felt so much grip in this car,” Power said. “Penske 1-2, it’s only the first day of testing, but that shows that we worked hard in the winter. As a team we’re very determined to check a couple of boxes this year, obviously the Indy 500 and the championship are absolutely top of the list.”
As in the morning, Chevrolet cars paced the field. The “Bowtie brigade” locked out six of the top seven positions. Power’s full-season teammate Helio Castroneves was next, with James Hinchcliffe third, EJ Viso fifth, Simona de Silvestro sixth and Oriol Servia seventh.
The lone Honda interloper in that group was Mike Conway, who tested Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s second car rather than James Jakes. Conway, who made the Firestone Fast Six at Barber qualifying last year, clocked in fourth at 1:08.1584.
AJ Allmendinger’s first day at Barber in Team Penske’s third car ended 16th. Beatriz, in her day in Coyne’s second car, was unable to better a 1:12.0076, that left her at the bottom of the 26-car field. Justin Wilson’s younger brother Stefan will take over on Wednesday.