Sebring International Raceway roared to life Monday with NTT IndyCar Series preseason testing as several drivers (including newcomer Jimmie Johnson) posted speeds while getting ready for a season opener that still is three months away.
Because it’s a private test, IndyCar didn’t provide official speeds from the session. But social media accounts were humming with photos and videos from the test at historic road course in Sebring, Florida.
Johnson, who tested last Nov. 2 at Barber Motorsports Park (where the 2021 season is slated to open April 11), was back in the Carvana-sponsored No. 48 Dallara-Honda with Chip Ganassi Racing, which also had teammates Scott Dixon, Marcus Ericsson and Alex Palou on hand.
Helio Castroneves, who is running a partial 2021 schedule with Meyer Shank Racing that includes the Indianapolis 500, also posted an Instagram video from the test.
Sebastien Bourdais and Dalton Kellett from AJ Foyt Racing also were testing, as was Carlin Racing with Max Chilton.
Andretti Autosport, which recently announced it would be fielding four cars in 2021 with the scaling back of Marco Andretti’s schedule, posted that its cars would be on track Tuesday at Sebring.
“Here at Sebring, having a great day getting a fair amount of laps in the race car,” Johnson said in a video posted by Carvana Racing. “Really just trying to understand how to slow the car down and maximize the car in the braking zones. My teammates have been great working really well with me helping me get up to speed. Having a ton of fun.
— Carvana Racing (@CarvanaRacing) January 18, 2021
“So proud to have the Carvana colors on the race car and a lot of equipment in place and looking good and very excited for the 2021 car unveil coming down the pipeline before long.”
According to Autosport, Johnson turned a session-high 160 laps with a best lap of 53.691 seconds. Dixon led the session with a 52.350-second lap. Johnson ranked last among seven drivers and was more than a half-second off the sixth-fastest speed posted by Dalton Kellett (52.692 seconds).
That was an improvement over the Barber test, where Johnson had been nearly 3 seconds off the top speed after shaving “seconds” off his lap time over the course of the day. Johnson also tested Nov. 10 at Laguna Seca Raceway but otherwise has been limited to simulator work and driving in cars from other series on road courses such as Sebring because of IndyCar’s restrictive testing policy.
Monday’s test was the start of a busy week in Florida for Johnson, who will be on track Friday at Daytona International Speedway as testing begins for the Rolex 24 at Daytona on Jan. 30-31. Johnson will be driving for Action Express in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener.
— Chip Ganassi Racing (@CGRTeams) January 18, 2021
— CGR IndyCar (@CGRindycar) January 18, 2021
The first test of 2021 is less than 12 hours away.
— Dalton Kellett (@Dalton_Kellett) January 18, 2021