By Steve Wittich .. Trackside Online
If today’s NTT INDYCAR® SERIES test at Barber Motorsports Park were the first chapter in a book about the 2021 season, the title would be 20.33 – the average age of the top three drivers during the November test.
Rinus van Kalmthout (VeeKay), only eight days removed from winning the 2020 Rookie Of The Year title, turned the quickest lap during the first large scale INDYCAR test since ‘spring training’ at Circuit of The Americas in February.
The pilot of the Ed Carpenter Racing No. 20 Chevrolet turned a lap at 65.6148 seconds on his 44th of 65 laps during the one day test. VeeKay’s lap was almost a full second lower Sebastien Bourdais’ track record of 66.6001 seconds.
VeeKay was joined in the top three by fellow recent Indy Lights grads Colton Herta (Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport) and Pato O’Ward (Arrow McLaren SP).
The top 15 divers bested Bourdais’ track record set during the fast 12 of qualifying for the 2016 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. And the top 18 drivers were all within one second of VeeKay’s lap time.
The field turned a total of 1385 laps ( miles).
Chip Ganassi Racing newcomer Jimmie Johnson was the busiest of the 21 drivers taking part in the test, turning a total of 100 laps of the 2.3-mile, 17-turn natural terrain road course. That’s 90 laps more than the typical length of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.
Dalton Kellett, who made eight starts with A.J. Foyt Racing during the 2020 NTT INDYCAR® SERIES season, was behind the wheel of the teams No. 4 Chevrolet for this test. TSO checked with the team and was told that no driver has been signed for the second car.
Also testing, but not signed for INDYCAR in 2021, was 2019–20 FIA Formula E Championship title winner Antonio Felix da Costa, was in the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda. The 29-year-old Portuguese driver had the 12th quickest lap time and completed 75 laps.
Missing from the private team test was Carlin and Dale Coyne Racing.
Teams testing today, the first day that the testing window for the 2021 season is open, and that competes in at least 12 races, each has five team test days to utilize. Three of those days can be used between today and February 15; one is to be used between February 16, 2021, and May 4, 2021, and one is to be used between July 26, 2021, and July 31, 2021.
The only scheduled open test (as of today) will be held on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval on March 25 and March 26, 2021.
This is the point in the report where we insert our usual corollary that testing times don’t matter. Teams will have different drivers working on differing testing programs, so don’t read too much into the times.
Unofficial timing results from NTT INDYCAR® SERIES testing at Barber Motorsports Park on November 2.
|RANK||CAR NO||DRIVER||TEAM||ENGINE||FAST LAP||DIFF||LAPS|
|1||21||Rinus VeeKay||Ed Carpenter Racing||Chevy||1:05.6148||–.—-||65|
|2||88||Colton Herta||Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport||Honda||1:05.7384||0.1236||74|
|3||5||Pato O’Ward||Arrow McLaren SP||Chevy||1:05.9059||0.2911||66|
|4||27||Alexander Rossi||Andretti Autosport||Honda||1:06.0179||0.4031||56|
|5||60||Jack Harvey||Meyer Shank Racing||Honda||1:06.0993||0.4845||45|
|6||20||Conor Daly||Ed Carpenter Racing||Chevy||1:06.1341||0.5193||62|
|7||28||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport||Honda||1:06.1901||0.5753||54|
|8||8||Marcus Ericsson||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||1:06.2568||0.6420||86|
|9||9||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||1:06.2579||0.6431||61|
|10||14||Sebastien Bourdais||AJ Foyt Enterprises||Chevy||1:06.3578||0.7430||61|
|11||10||Alex Palou||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||1:06.3646||0.7498||74|
|12||15||Antonio Felix da Costa||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||Honda||1:06.3754||0.7606||75|
|13||2||Josef Newgarden||Team Penske||Chevy||1:06.4103||0.7955||59|
|14||26||James Hinchcliffe||Andretti Autosport||Honda||1:06.4412||0.8264||64|
|15||7||Felix Rosenqvist||Arrow McLaren SP||Chevy||1:06.5011||0.8863||53|
|16||12||Will Power||Team Penske||Chevy||1:06.6195||1.0047||62|
|17||22||Simon Pagenaud||Team Penske||Chevy||1:06.6347||1.0199||61|
|18||4||Dalton Kellett||AJ Foyt Enterprises||Chevy||1:06.6471||1.0323||70|
|19||3||Scott McLaughlin||Team Penske||Chevy||1:06.9409||1.3261||73|
|20||98||Marco Andretti||Andretti Herta with Marco & Curb-Agajanian||Honda||1:07.0890||1.4742||64|
|21||48||Jimmie Johnson||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||1:08.3984||2.7836||100|
Several drivers and teams are expected to visit the 2.238-mile, 11-turn WeatherTech Race Track.