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.