Chaves back at Sebring as Pigot, Rossi set for first 2016 tests

Hinchcliffe and Chaves. Photo: IndyCar

Among the driver story lines headed into this week’s two days of private testing at Sebring International Raceway, which serves as an unofficial road course spring training for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series, are the debuts of Spencer Pigot and Alexander Rossi and the return of Gabby Chaves.

Pigot will make his test debut with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, for the first time since being confirmed for at least a three-race program.

He’ll drive the team’s No. 16 Honda; the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires champion steps up after securing the Mazda Scholarship. Pigot has tested an IndyCar before, with Team Penske during the Indy Lights drivers test day at Sonoma last August.

Meanwhile, Rossi will have his first day ever in an IndyCar in the No. 98 Honda for Andretti Autosport, just over a week after being confirmed in the car previously fielded by Bryan Herta Autosport but still featuring the BHA crew and Herta as his strategist.

Andretti Autosport has already “welcomed” Rossi back to America – who’s been in Europe for the last eight years – with this quick video.

Lastly, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports confirmed Chaves will test for a second straight test, filling in for Mikhail Aleshin.

If Chaves and James Hinchcliffe get to continue as teammates into the regular season when it starts itself, they can look back at this rather hilarious selfie posted to the team’s PR rep’s phone as a starting point.

Beyond these three, teams and drivers expected to test tomorrow, on March 2, include:

  • A.J. Foyt Enterprises (Jack Hawksworth, Takuma Sato)
  • Andretti Autosport (Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Carlos Munoz, Alexander Rossi)
  • Chip Ganassi Racing Teams (Max Chilton, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball)
  • Dale Coyne Racing (Conor Daly, Luca Filippi)
  • Ed Carpenter Racing (Josef Newgarden)
  • KVSH Racing (Sebastien Bourdais)
  • Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (Spencer Pigot, Graham Rahal)
  • Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (James Hinchcliffe, Gabby Chaves)

You’ll note Team Penske isn’t on that list, but it is still testing at Sebring this week. Per a Team Penske spokesperson, the team moved its testing up to today for the quartet of Will Power, Juan Pablo Montoya, Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud.

This week’s testing is the last for IndyCar before the season opener, the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, on March 13.