Today’s test session at Sebring International Raceway began a new era of sorts for Chip Ganassi Racing, which tested together with Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan (pictured, No. 8) and new engine supplier Chevrolet for the first time on-track.
Team managing director Mike Hull is optimistic about what both can bring to the team after it won the IndyCar Series championship with Scott Dixon and Honda power this past year.
In regard to Kanaan, Hull noted that because he’s coming from another Chevy-powered outfit, KV Racing Technology, he won’t find himself worrying about grappling with the differences between the Chevy and Honda motors – both of which will be twin-turbos from 2014 onward.
“He can just concentrate on what we do as a team with the chassis,” Hull said. “And it’s kind of an interesting comparison, or dynamic, of what we have going on today because we have the Honda history, which has been a really special time in our lives at Chip Ganassi Racing for many, many years, we have that going on.
“But with Tony, we also have a fresh perspective on where Chip Ganassi [Racing] stands in terms of how it creates an on-track product by comparison to where he’s been in the past. So it’s a big day for all of us here in terms of understanding how to make our product better.”
Hull was also glad to get started with Chevy in terms of on-track work after a couple months of “getting to know you” since CGR announced that it would join the Bowtie back in October at Houston.
“[The test is] not so much a comparison about where we’ve been, it’s about how we’re going to work moving forward with our new partner,” he said. “That’s really the key for us, creating and opening up the communication streams that we had between our four drivers and our team itself in combination with the team of people at Chevrolet.”
In an interesting side note from today, Alex Tagliani – who replaced the injured (and now, retired) Dario Franchitti in his No. 10 car in the October season finale at Fontana – tested in that same No. 10 machine today with Ganassi full-timers Kanaan, Dixon, and Charlie Kimball.
Photo Credit: Dave Lewandowski/INDYCAR