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.”