Briscoe on top as cut tyres affect test

Ryan Briscoe led the way on Wednesday as IndyCar Series teams battled a mysterious problem that resulted in numerous cut tyres during the final night of a two-night open test at Homestead-Miami Speedway

Briscoe on top as cut tyres affect test

Penske driver Briscoe's 25.1984-second (212.156mph) lap last night stood up as the fastest of the week. However, he was one of several drivers who lost a set of tyres to an unidentified abrasive agent on the surface of the 1.5-mile oval.

More than an hour of Wednesday's five-hour session was lost to caution periods in which safety workers attempted to determine what was causing large cuts in tyres. Despite the trouble, no tyre failures or accidents were reported during the two days.

"After one run today, we'd lost a set of tyres because we cut one," Briscoe said. "We used our last set pretty soon after dinner, but we did get as much as we could out of what we had. I never did hear from the league why we were cutting tyres, but my crew told me the one I cut was pretty deep."

Several other teams lost precious sets of rubber, and many teams cut short their intended mileage because they ran low on allotted tyres. One team manager speculated that the problem may have stemmed from mesh wiring below the asphalt surface, noting the same thing happened at the previous year's preseason Homestead test. A Firestone spokesman said he couldn't identify the cause of the problem.

Last year's tyre problems during the test didn't reappear during the race a few months later. This year's Homestead race won't be held until October.

In spite of the problem, 22 car and driver combinations completed nearly 4,700 laps during the two days. Among the highlights of the sessions was the impressive performance of Mario Moraes for KV Racing Technology. Moraes, the 20-year-old Brazilian who moved from Dale Coyne Racing to KV during the off-season, ran well throughout both sessions, eventually scoring the sixth-fastest lap overall.

"It was a good start to the season," Moraes said. "The team is at a good pace. Actually we weren't looking for speed. We were looking to have a better car for the races. We were working on race set-up and happened to catch some drafts. I'm enjoying working with Jimmy (Vasser), and I'm just trying to learn the most I can from him."

Vasser, the team co-owner who parted ways with veterans Oriol Servia and Will Power during the winter break, congratulated his new driver at the end of Wednesday's session.

"He's not afraid to stick his nose in there and mix it up," Vasser said. "He's still got a learning curve, but he's a good kid. I couldn't be happier. He did a fantastic job both days. I don't think he's used to working with so many engineers, but I'm sure it's a welcome thing for him."

Defending IndyCar and Indianapolis 500 champion Scott Dixon had the second-fastest lap overall for Chip Ganassi Racing and also recorded the most laps during the two days at 282.

Marco Andretti was third-fastest in combined times, followed by his Andretti Green Racing teammate Tony Kanaan, 2007 champion Dario Franchitti (Ganassi), Moraes and Power, currently the fill-in for Helio Castroneves at Team Penske.

"We took a lot of data from yesterday and worked away at it," Power said. "We were really comfortable with the Team Penske car at the end. It was good to get some miles under my belt.

"We worked on a number of different set-ups and learned as much as we could about the car. It's good for me to have a couple of days like this where you get to know everyone on the team."

Mike Conway was the top rookie for Dreyer & Reinbold on Wednesday night in an impressive eighth place, as Robert Doornbos (Newman/Haas/Lanigan) fell to 17th after going the wrong way on set-up, having been the best of the newcomers on Tuesday.

A further open test is scheduled at the Barber Motorsports Park road course in Birmingham, Alabama, on 22-23 March, before the season commences at St Petersburg on 5 April.

Wednesday's testing times:

Pos Driver Team Speed 1. Ryan Briscoe Penske 212.156 2. Scott Dixon Ganassi 211.825 3. Marco Andretti Andretti Green 211.274 4. Tony Kanaan Andretti Green 210.819 5. Mario Moraes KV 210.603 6. Will Power Penske 210.544 7. Dan Wheldon Panther 210.402 8. Mike Conway Dreyer & Reinbold 210.225 9. Graham Rahal Newman/Haas/Lanigan 210.088 10. Hideki Mutoh Andretti Green 209.995 11. Dario Franchitti Ganassi 209.810 12. Vitor Meira Foyt 209.475 13. EJ Viso HVM 209.355 14. Danica Patrick Andretti Green 209.333 15. Milka Duno Newman/Haas/Lanigan 208.984 16. Ed Carpenter Vision 208.925 17. Robert Doornbos Newman/Haas/Lanigan 208.906 18. Raphael Matos Luczo Dragon 208.281 19. Justin Wilson Dale Coyne 208.108 20. Jaime Camara Conquest 206.744 21. Stanton Barrett 3G 206.266 

shares
comments
Duno expects great strides with NHLR

Previous article

Duno expects great strides with NHLR

Next article

Q & A with Justin Wilson

Q & A with Justin Wilson
Load comments
The lasting legacy of a fallen Indycar rookie Plus

The lasting legacy of a fallen Indycar rookie

Jeff Krosnoff was plucked out of obscurity to become a respected and highly popular professional in Japan, and then got his big break in Indycar for 1996. But a tragic accident at Toronto 25 years ago cut short a promising career and curtailed his regular team-mate Mauro Martini's passion for racing

IndyCar
Jul 14, 2021
The two key areas where Dixon needs to re-assert his authority Plus

The two key areas where Dixon needs to re-assert his authority

OPINION: Having been Chip Ganassi Racing's IndyCar focal point for the best part of a decade, Scott Dixon has been so far outgunned by new team-mate Alex Palou in 2021. After finishing behind the Spaniard at his traditional happy hunting ground at Mid-Ohio, Dixon has work to do to assume his traditional position in the team and the standings

IndyCar
Jul 6, 2021
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