Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon to test 2012 IndyCar prototype chassis
|By Jamie O'Leary||Thursday, June 23rd 2011, 16:41 GMT|
Dan Wheldon and Bryan Herta Autosport will conduct the official testing programme of the IndyCar Series' 2012 prototype chassis later this year.
Former series champion Wheldon, who took a shock victory on his first appearance of the year at the Indianapolis 500 last month, will conduct the tests on behalf of championship organisers in August and September.
"Dan, Bryan and [BHA co-owner] Steve Newey have extensive experience in testing and development programmes, so we know our prototypes will be in the best hands as we finalise the chassis aspect of the program," said Tony Cotman, project manager for the 2012 machine.
"This verification testing furthers our commitment to ensure that our new car meets all the performance criteria promised to our drivers, teams and fans."
No confirmation of which circuits will be used for the test has been forthcoming, although team principal Herta did say that his aim was to put the Dallara chassis through a "rigorous programme to prepare for the various types of tracks the series visits," to ensure that the tubs would be ready for delivery to IndyCar teams by December.
Wheldon said that while he was disappointed not to have a full-time drive in IndyCar this year, he hopes that his testing deal can help him return to a race seat in 2012.
"Obviously I am very excited to continue with everyone that formed the Indianapolis 500 winning team at Bryan Herta Autosport," said Wheldon. "This is something that we are going to take very seriously and approach in a very professional manner. It is very important for the growth of the series that the testing is done in a way that will create an even better product at the start of 2012.
"For me to not be racing is obviously something that I am disappointed about, but being able to do the testing program will put me in a fantastic position for the future and I am thankful to the IndyCar Series, Honda and Firestone for the opportunity."