Parc ferme rules will aid IndyCar rookies in Texas double-header

Scott McLaughlin and Pietro Fittipaldi agree their efforts at this weekend’s IndyCar double-header at Texas Motor Speedway will be somewhat simplified by parc ferme rules.

Parc ferme rules will aid IndyCar rookies in Texas double-header

Aside from five minutes of two-stage pit-speed limiter practice on Saturday and five minutes of install laps on Sunday, the 24-car field will be granted just one-hour of practice (75 minutes for rookies) before qualifying gets underway.

As was introduced on ovals last year, each driver’s first lap of qualifying will set the grid for Saturday’s race – the 212-lap Genesys 300 – and the second lap will set the grid for Sunday’s 248-lap XPel 375.

Between qualifying and Race 1 on Saturday, the cars will be impounded, meaning that all teams and drivers will be setting their times on the heavier race downforce.

This, according to Team Penske's Scott McLaughlin and Pietro Fittipaldi of Dale Coyne Racing, will simplify their task ahead of their first race on the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway.

“Obviously we will be qualifying pretty much on race condition stuff and I think we start the race on our qualifying tyres,” said McLaughlin, who ran his first oval Rookie Orientation Program at TMS last February, and has since taken part in a pre-season group test at the venue.

“It does take one less complication out of it for me to learn.”

The three-time and reigning Supercars champion did concede it would have been useful to try trimming out for a more typical oval qualifying session, ahead of his Indianapolis 500 debut, but believes the amount of practice time available at IMS next month will aid his cause.

“For sure it would probably be nice to have an idea of what I want before I head to Indy in terms of qualifying trim,” he said, “but we've got the full month to build up to it.

“The [Texas rules] does make it a lot more simple for someone like myself – even I guess for Pietro who is coming in not a full-timer right now – just to get used to the car.”

Pietro Fittipaldi, Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing Honda

Pietro Fittipaldi, Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing Honda

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

Fittipaldi, who had three oval races among his six IndyCar starts in 2018, agreed with McLaughlin regarding consistent downforce levels making things “a bit more simple.”

He continued: “You have one practice. If you were allowed to change the downforce levels and you don't have that much experience, to do qualifying downforce in practice, then change to race [downforce]… I don't think you have enough time to get enough laps.

"You would be kind of going into qualifying or the race without much experience on the downforce.

“For me it's better that way, just to keep that variable out of it. I'll be able to learn more like this without going into really any unknowns.”

However, neither driver is underestimating the task ahead of them.

“To race single-seaters on an oval, it's very different, especially now with the aeroscreen,” said Fittipaldi, who will skip the Le Mans 24 Hours to contest the clashing Gateway oval race.

“The car has a bit of a different balance than what I was used to from before.

"Following cars is always very difficult to get used to as well, gaining that experience not only in Texas but as well for Indianapolis."

shares
comments
Fittipaldi to run Gateway IndyCar race, not Le Mans
Previous article

Fittipaldi to run Gateway IndyCar race, not Le Mans

Next article

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

How Herta's aversion to complacency spells bad news for his IndyCar rivals
How Ericsson achieved Indy immortality as Ganassi's main man stumbled Plus

How Ericsson achieved Indy immortality as Ganassi's main man stumbled

Chip Ganassi Racing team was strong again in the Indianapolis 500, with poleman Scott Dixon and reigning champion Alex Palou leading almost three quarters of the race between them. But when dominator Dixon was penalised for pitlane speeding, ex-Formula 1 driver Marcus Ericsson stepped up to score the biggest win of his career and seize the IndyCar points lead

IndyCar
May 30, 2022
Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021 Plus

Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021

In an enthralling 2021 IndyCar campaign, the series bounced back from its COVID-19 truncated year prior and Alex Palou defeated both the established order and his fellow young guns to clinch a maiden title. It capped a remarkable season with plenty of standout performers

IndyCar
Nov 21, 2021
How F1's other IndyCar exile finally unlocked his potential Plus

How F1's other IndyCar exile finally unlocked his potential

Romain Grosjean's swashbuckling rookie year in IndyCar captured the imagination of many in 2021. But another ex-Formula 1 driver whose potential was masked by five years of toil in, at best, middling machinery also enjoyed a breakout year in 2021 - winning twice and finishing sixth in points. Here's how Marcus Ericsson finally delivered on his promise

IndyCar
Nov 16, 2021
How Ganassi's relentless new champion outfoxed IndyCar's best Plus

How Ganassi's relentless new champion outfoxed IndyCar's best

IndyCar sophomore Alex Palou stunned by overcoming team-mate Scott Dixon and the rest of a white-hot field in 2021. He was consistently fast and crucially showed a level head, rebounding well from setbacks to put himself in a near unassailable position entering the final round

IndyCar
Nov 4, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Plus

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Despite appearing to have an IndyCar job for life with Meyer Shank Racing, Jack Harvey’s departure and move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate. However, Harvey's and RLL's combined strengths could prove to be a winning combination - if they get the balance right

IndyCar
Oct 17, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win Plus

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win

Saturday 16 October marks the 10th anniversary of Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Plus

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong junior career and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star Plus

Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star

Newly-crowned IndyCar champion Alex Palou has been lauded as a complete driver and veteran-like in only his second season. The 24-year-old is still in the early days of his career, but the parallels are there for all to see with his six-time champion Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate who has been CGR's team leader since 2014

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021