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Mid-Ohio IndyCar test social roundup, notes (PHOTOS)

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There were a mix of different goals and programs to emerge out of Thursday’s test at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, ahead of next week’s Honda Indy 200 for the Verizon IndyCar Series.

We’ll round them up with a mix of social posts and nuggets, below:

THE FIVE YOUNG GUNS

Four drivers – Felix Rosenqvist, Robin Frijns, Zachary Claman De Melo and RC Enerson – made their IndyCar test debuts while Jack Harvey returned to the track following a nearly yearlong hiatus.

Oddly it was the two-year Indy Lights veteran, Harvey, who made a rare mistake. An incident at Turn 6 damaged the No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda he was testing more than you’d normally expect and according to Motorsport.com, it’s potentially put into doubt a race debut for Harvey later this year in an extra SPM entry. SPM ran a third car for Mikhail Aleshin at last year’s season finale at Sonoma before the “Mad Russian” returned full-time this year.

As for the others, it was fairly smooth sailing.

Rosenqvist impressed on debut with Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, the Swede taking over the usual No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet driven by four-time and defending series champion Scott Dixon, who turns 36 today.

Rosenqvist, 24, was over the moon with his test and called it the “best day of his life.” More here from RACER.com.

Enerson, as noted to NBC Sports last night, couldn’t hide his enthusiasm for the test with Dale Coyne Racing and also called it his “best day ever.” Pure joy was evident for the 19-year-old out of New Port Richey, Fla., who will make his race debut in the team’s No. 19 Honda next week.

Dutch ace Robin Frijns took over the No. 28 DHL Honda of Ryan Hunter-Reay for his IndyCar test debut. Frijns, who was on F1’s doorstep with Caterham a couple years ago and starred for MS Amlin Andretti’s FIA Formula E Championship program this year, welcomed the return to a more higher downforce open-wheel car.

Teenaged Canadian, Claman De Melo, took over in Mikhail Aleshin’s No. 7 SMP Racing Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda and had a clean day.

AERO EVALUATION

With INDYCAR set to outline its aerodynamic parameters among several other details next month, JR Hildebrand (again deputizing for Josef Newgarden at Ed Carpenter Racing) and Tony Kanaan were tasked with running several different aerodynamic configurations on Thursday.

Hildebrand released a photo of the No. 21 Chevrolet sans the rear wheel pod assembly:

Strakes and sidewalls also appeared to be present, which you don’t ordinarily see on a road course.

OTHER NOTES FROM RUNNING

It seems hard to believe but Conor Daly, who’s been to Mid-Ohio many times as a spectator, has never actually raced there. He’ll do so next week in the No. 18 Jonathan Byrd’s Hospitality Honda for Dale Coyne Racing for the first time.

Graham Rahal, last year’s winner at Mid-Ohio, was busy in a quest to mileage out his Honda engine. While his car was still in the Rousseau Metals/RLL livery as seen at Toronto, he’ll be back in the No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake colors next weekend.

A HANDFUL OF ADDITIONAL PHOTOS FROM THE TEST (All Photos: IndyCar)

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Juan Pablo Montoya’s No. 2 Chevrolet back in Hawk Performance colors.
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Josef Newgarden at test, but not in car. Has been cleared to drive.
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IndyCar debutante RC Enerson rolls out for Dale Coyne Racing.
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Points leader Simon Pagenaud looks on.
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Will Power has won three of last four races and is nipping at Pagenaud’s heels.
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Zachary Claman De Melo made his first IndyCar test.
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Jack Harvey returned to testing with SPM.
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JR Hildebrand filled Newgarden’s car for Mid-Ohio test.
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Felix Rosenqvist flanked by Ganassi engineers Julian Robertson (left) and Chris Simmons (right).
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Sebastien Bourdais’ KVSH Racing entry on course.
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Spencer Pigot in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing.
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Montoya doesn’t take too kindly to the idea he’s lost his passion for driving. At least that’s what this photo feels like.

Porsche pulls GTLM cars from Mid-Ohio because of COVID-19 positives

Porsche Mid-Ohio COVID-19
David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Porsche will skip Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with its two GTLM cars at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after three positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

That resulted in Porsche choosing to pull out of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance race in Germany, electing to avoid sending any team members as a precautionary measure.

Porsche Motorsport announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 decision also would apply at Mid-Ohio to its No. 911 and No. 12 teams.

HUSTLING HELIO: Castroneves hunting for 2021 rides in IMSA, IndyCar

Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Laurens Vanthoor, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy — also were racing in Le Mans. The trio has remained isolated in Europe and won’t be allowed to travel.

“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president for Porsche Motorsport, said in a release. “This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.

“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”

The decision also affects Earl Bamber, who teamed with Vanthoor to win the GTLM championship last year in the No. 912.

Porsche said its GTLM Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries will return for the Oct. 10 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

That will reduce the GTLM class to four cars — two Corvettes and two BMWs — this weekend at Mid-Ohio, in what could be somewhat of a 2021 preview. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that it will leave IMSA after the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.