This upcoming week may be an “off week” for the Verizon IndyCar Series in terms of an actual race weekend, but not in terms of on-track activity.
Half the 22-car field will be in action at Sonoma Raceway on Thursday for an open test, which will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is free to the public.
Fans who purchase a ticket to the upcoming GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (August 24), or have already purchased tickets, will be given a FREE pit tour for an up-close look at the racecars and drivers. The Raceway Café will also be open for lunch, and a press conference will fall during the lunch hour.
Those drivers and teams confirmed to test include:
- Andretti Autosport: Ryan Hunter-Reay & Carlos Munoz
- Chip Ganassi Racing: Ryan Briscoe, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan & Charlie Kimball
- Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: Graham Rahal
- Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing: Josef Newgarden
- Team Penske: Helio Castroneves, Juan Pablo Montoya & Will Power
Newgarden is embarking on a crazy, whirlwind week where he returned from Mid-Ohio to Indianapolis for the Indiana State Fair, will head west to Sonoma on Thursday, then heads back southeast to Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. for the weekend to compete in a Honda-powered Formula F car. More here from the SCCA.
Interesting from a championship perspective is that Castroneves, Power and Hunter-Reay will have an extra day’s worth of data compared to Simon Pagenaud, who is not testing here. But Pagenaud and the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team did test at Sonoma over the winter, so they’ll have that data to work off of.
Penske has traditionally run well at Sonoma, and since the introduction of the Dallara DW12 has won both races – with Ryan Briscoe in 2012 and Power a year ago.
We’ll see whether anyone is able to make key gains this week.