Coyne encouraged by test for Fittipaldi and Ware in Texas

Dale Coyne says he’s satisfied with both IndyCar returnee Pietro Fittipaldi and future rookie Cody Ware after a day’s testing at Texas Motor Speedway.

Coyne encouraged by test for Fittipaldi and Ware in Texas

Fittipaldi is due to race the #51 Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing-Honda in the four oval races on the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series schedule, subbing for Romain Grosjean who will compete in the 13 road and street course races.

Meanwhile Cody Ware, son of Rick Ware, will attempt to qualify a third Coyne car, the #52, for the Indy 500. Ware has made over 60 starts in NASCAR, won the 2019-20 Asian Le Mans Series and made his IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in January, finishing fourth in the LMP2 class in the RWR Eurasia entry.

Both drivers were today carrying out their superspeedway evaluations in preparation for next week’s Rookie Orientation Practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Fittipaldi does have some oval experience from his 2018 IndyCar venture with Coyne, that was badly interrupted by a broken leg sustained in a WEC shunt at Spa-Francorchamps. The grandson of Emerson and son of Wilson qualified 10th at Phoenix early in the season and, following his recuperation, raced at both Pocono and Gateway’s World Wide Technology Raceway.

Coyne told Autosport: “Pietro didn’t race Indy or Texas with us back in ’18 so this test was important – and he loved it. He came in and said – well I can’t use the expletive here – but he said, ‘I [*******] love ovals!’ Yeah, he was definitely excited.

“It was hard to compare our speeds with the speeds from the big group test yesterday  because they were all deliberately practicing running in traffic so their best lap times were in a tow, which was worth about 6mph. Well we never ran in a tow today but if you add 6mph to what our guys did, we were right there, we were competitive.

“Pietro’s feedback was pretty good. We gave him a ‘safe’-handling car, plenty of downforce, and he was good. We ran him for 300 miles – actually we must have done about 300 miles with both our guys.

 

“Cody did good, too. He started off a little slow and careful but then he just started going quicker and quicker, just like when we first tested him at Sebring, and by the end he was very respectable.

“It’s tough for him because he’s never driven these cars, and all he’s had is one day at Sebring and now one day at Texas. I wish he could get more time because he never puts a foot wrong and he just keeps improving. So these hurry-up weekends are going to be a challenge.”

 

Asked if it was right to assume that 25-year-old Ware will be the driver of the #52 DCR-RWR-Honda, assuming all goes well in his ROP test Indy next week, Coyne replied, “Yes, you can assume that. And that won’t be his only outing: he’ll probably do four road courses, too, starting at the Indy GP next month.”

Coyne again confirmed that should Grosjean wish to make his oval racing debut on the 1.25-mile WWTRaceway – the ex-F1 driver has only said no to superspeedways – the team will run its third car for him there, alongside Fittipaldi and the fulltime #18 DCR with Vasser-Sullivan car of Ed Jones.

However, there is still some negotiating to be done, for the 24 Hours of Le Mans’ shift in the calendar has caused it to now clash with the Gateway IndyCar round, and Fittipaldi is due to be racing with G-Drive/Algarve Pro in the French classic.

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