Ryan Phinny gets comfortable in first IndyCar test with KV Racing Technology

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KV Racing Technology is yet to name its second driver alongside KVSH Racing driver Sebastien Bourdais, who will be with the team for his second season.

But American rookie hopeful Ryan Phinny has now had his first outing with KV Racing Technology, Monday at Sebring International Raceway’s short course for a one-day test.

Phinny has spoken openly of his ambitions to get into the Verizon IndyCar Series and now with this first test, should be a step closer.

“The situation at the team itself is fantastic,” Phinny told MotorSportsTalk on Monday night. “Leaving today, I feel positive.

“My biggest thing is getting seat time. I feel comfortable and acclimated to the car. It’s drastically different than anything I had driven before, but I’m not over my head.”

Phinny, the 25-year-old Los Angeles resident who would seek to be a rare L.A. native in the series full-time, studied copiously in advance of his first test.

Surprisingly, considering his experience in sports cars and Indy Lights over the last eight to nine years, his test Monday marked his first ever run on Sebring’s short course.

It was also interrupted midday for a mechanical issue that cost him about two and a half hours of running. But thanks to the KV Racing Technology crew, Phinny was able to get back out for the final half hour of the day and bring his lap total north of 40 overall.

“‘I’ve been here, but never on the short course,” Phinny said. “Jumping in a car like this compared to even an LMP or DP car or GT car makes for a drastic difference, but still a great experience.

“Doing the Lights stuff last year, has helped me get ready for this test. It made a lot of sense. I feel confident and I’m thankful the team is happy with me. They’d be the first ones to say if they weren’t.”

Phinny said the biggest adjustment in stepping up from an Indy Lights chassis into an IndyCar is learning the braking on the Dallara DW12, as the car fitted with Brembo’s carbon brakes.

“Primarily the braking is the big thing,” Phinny said. “I’ve driven cars with similar horsepower, but weigh a lot more. But to drive one that’s as light and quick as this, to have the braking power that it has was a cool experience. I spent the first session, session and a half getting acclimated to that. Having all the controls on the steering wheel is really nice.”

KV Racing Technology is yet to decide on a driver for the second car. Stefano Coletti impressed the team in his last test at NOLA Motorsports Park, and Phinny would be another potential rookie candidate in contention for the seat, which is now the No. 4 Chevrolet engineered by Matt Curry.

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
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Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.