IndyCar: Firestone, team testing to occur at IMS oval this week

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While the Verizon IndyCar Series still has another two weeks before its next race at Pocono Raceway on August 23, teams will be in action this week at both the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Wednesday, August 12) and Sonoma Raceway (Thursday, August 13).

The Sonoma test will offer Indy Lights drivers the chance to run. Meanwhile, IndyCar testing on the oval will be done for both Firestone and team testing this Wednesday.

Here’s the breakdown of those testing at IMS:

  • Marco Andretti, No. 27 Snapple Honda, Firestone test
  • Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, Firestone test
  • Tony Kanaan, No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, team testing
  • Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet, team testing
  • Simon Pagenaud, No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet, team testing
  • Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 28 DHL Honda, team testing

Firestone tests annually at IMS and Dale Harrigle, chief engineer for Bridgestone Americas Motorsports and manager of race tire development, explained what’s going to be going on in this test.

“We have a right- and left-side compound to evaluate. We have 24 different specs of tires to evaluate and that will make up 10 sets of tires,” Harrigle said, adding that introduction of aerodynamic bodywork components to the race cars this year makes testing to determine the 2016 IMS oval tire compounds more essential.

“It’s about how to improve the tire to give the drivers a better feel with the aero kits,” he said. “It’s also to make sure we’re comfortable with the speeds that we’ll be running next year. I expect to see an increase in speed with just the continuation of development of the aero kits and the engines.”

From an INDYCAR release, the tire specification selected for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 29, 2016, will be unique to the racetrack. The left-side tire specification used at this year’s Indy 500 also will be used in the penultimate race of the Verizon IndyCar Series season Aug. 23 on the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway tri-oval.

Cars participating in the team test will run with the rear wheel guard infills that were added for Indianapolis 500 qualifications and the 200-lap race in May as a safety element.

Fans may watch the test from the South Vista grandstand and the Turn 2 viewing mounds. There is no admission charge.