AJ Allmendinger revels in Penske IndyCar test

AJ Allmendinger returned to the wheel of a single-seater for the first time in more than six years on Tuesday when he joined Penske for the IndyCar test at Sebring

AJ Allmendinger revels in Penske IndyCar test

Allmendinger was a five-time race winner in Champ Car before switching to stock cars in late 2006, although he was suspended by NASCAR and released by Penske Racing after testing positive for a banned substance last summer.

Having completed the Road to Recovery programme, he was reinstated in September, and invited to test with Penske with a view to potentially racing the team's third car at Barber Motorsports Park and the Indianapolis 500.

The 31-year-old admitted that he had a lot of work to do in readapting to the requirements of the car after spending so long in the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

"My heart was beating fast and [in] the first couple of runs the car was definitely driving me," said Allmendinger, who was 12th fastest on unofficial timing, 0.7 seconds off the pace.

"It slowly has come back to me. Everything feels real fast. A Cup car has more horsepower, but because of its weight that sensation of speed is a lot different. When you get an IndyCar on a road course, it feels like it has 1500 horsepower."

Allmendinger said that he had been made to feel welcome by the team's full-time drivers Will Power and Helio Castroneves, and paid tribute to team owner Roger Penske for giving him a second chance.

"Will and Helio have welcomed me into their race team with open arms and I'm definitely happy to be here," he said.

"I'd love for it to lead to some races, especially Indy. I'm so grateful to the organisation for giving me this opportunity.

"After what I went through last year, to have Roger ask me to come here and drive one of his race cars... 'happy' is an understatement.

"In this process, I've learned a lot about myself and how to be a better person. All I can do is take care of myself and the things you can control.

"Waiting [for a call to race] doesn't matter. I'm just going to be ready physically and mentally for when they do call."

Allmendinger's last IndyCar outing came in the Surfers Paradise Champ Car race in 2006.

See more pictures from the Sebring IndyCar test in AUTOSPORT's news gallery

shares
comments
IndyCar updates 2013 Dallara DW12 to improve safety and durability

Previous article

IndyCar updates 2013 Dallara DW12 to improve safety and durability

Next article

Sebring IndyCar test: Takuma Sato quickest on Foyt debut

Sebring IndyCar test: Takuma Sato quickest on Foyt debut
Load comments
The winners and losers of IndyCar 2021 so far Plus

The winners and losers of IndyCar 2021 so far

At the halfway point in the 2021 IndyCar Series season, we've had seven winners in eight races, spread between five teams – none of them Team Penske. In this unusual season, even by IndyCar standards, who’s excelling and who’s dragging their heels?

IndyCar
Jun 18, 2021
Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history Plus

Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history

Helio Castroneves’ overwhelming vivaciousness outside the cockpit belies a hardcore racer who knows how to plot his moves – and then recall it all. A day after his fourth Indy 500 win, he explained his tactics

IndyCar
Jun 2, 2021
How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status Plus

How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status

Helio Castroneves joined AJ Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears with the most Indianapolis 500 wins after edging past Alex Palou on the penultimate lap of a thrilling race that validated Michael Shank's faith in the veteran Brazilian - who is discovering that there is life after Penske after all

IndyCar
Jun 1, 2021
Indy 500 preview: Will experience or youth be victorious at the Brickyard? Plus

Indy 500 preview: Will experience or youth be victorious at the Brickyard?

A quarter of the drivers racing in the 105th edition of the Indianapolis 500 are former winners - but are they the favourites? The veteran drivers largely impressed in qualifying - but there's also a plethora of young guns looking to secure victory at IndyCar's flagship race...

IndyCar
May 27, 2021
What will it take to get American drivers in Formula 1? Plus

What will it take to get American drivers in Formula 1?

The FIA says it wants American drivers in Formula 1, but would it take an IndyCar driver to transfer or does an American need to join the European junior ladder system to get there?

Formula 1
May 19, 2021
Why IndyCar is satisfying Grosjean’s appetite for his second life Plus

Why IndyCar is satisfying Grosjean’s appetite for his second life

After spending the majority of his 179-race Formula 1 career in middling to tail-end machinery, Romain Grosjean finds himself once again with an underdog team in IndyCar. While not without its challenges, he's relishing the more level playing field that means his Dale Coyne Racing crew can expect to claim a few scalps...

IndyCar
May 14, 2021
How Herta's aversion to complacency spells bad news for his IndyCar rivals Plus

How Herta's aversion to complacency spells bad news for his IndyCar rivals

Colton Herta's dominant IndyCar win on the streets of St. Petersburg confirmed what rivals have long-suspected - that the second-generation racer is destined for stardom. But it was Herta's comments afterwards that gave perhaps the most interesting insight into a driver that will be around for a long time to come

IndyCar
Apr 29, 2021
How good is Palou - and can he be Dixon's main IndyCar title rival? Plus

How good is Palou - and can he be Dixon's main IndyCar title rival?

Last Sunday, Alex Palou delivered his first IndyCar victory on his Chip Ganassi Racing debut. Is the young Spaniard going to become his legendary teammate Scott Dixon’s biggest title threat? DAVID MALSHER-LOPEZ investigates Palou's potential

IndyCar
Apr 21, 2021