At least six teams, 12 drivers set for NOLA IndyCar test next week

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The biggest test of the Verizon IndyCar Series preseason, numbers-wise, is slated for next week at NOLA Motorsports Park on Feb. 10-11.

At least six teams and 12 drivers will be testing. They include:

  • Team Penske: Will Power, Juan Pablo Montoya, Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud
  • Andretti Autosport: Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti, Carlos Munoz
  • CFH Racing: Josef Newgarden, Luca Filippi
  • Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: Graham Rahal
  • Schmidt Peterson Motorsports: James Hinchcliffe
  • KVSH Racing: Sebastien Bourdais

Almost more notable than who is testing is who isn’t.

Chip Ganassi Racing has already tested at NOLA, with its three confirmed drivers and CGR development driver Sage Karam.

A.J. Foyt Enterprises is not listed at the moment, with new driver Jack Hawksworth having told me at the Rolex 24 at Daytona the team was planning on running.

Bryan Herta Autosport, too, is not listed. The team will need to do some additional running with rookie Gabby Chaves before the season starts.

Perhaps the most interesting “not testing” elements are extra cars for the teams listed above.

With Andretti, Schmidt Peterson and KVSH all running, you’d think one or more teams would be able to sample more drivers in exploration for filling vacant seats. But as ever, finding the funding to get out on track remains the stumbling block.

Still, with these 12 cars at least testing and with CGR already having banked some time, most of the field will have had track time at NOLA prior to the inaugural race there April 10-12.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.