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Testing rules to change in 2006

The IRL has announced a raft of changes to its testing rules for next season

The new policy reduces testing from 12 to eight days in 2006, with each team allowed to conduct private testing for the first time since 2003. Teams can conduct a maximum of three private testing days, however, in order to level the playing field, teams with more than one entry will be counted as a single entrant and limited to three testing days.

"By allowing our teams to test, we place the value of testing back in the hands of our teams," IRL chief operating officer Brian Barnhart said. "The teams have the flexibility to choose when and where they test, which will help maintain the competitive balance as well as allow them to contain the costs of racing by reducing the number of testing days we will have in 2006."

In addition to the private tests the IRL will sanction open tests on the road course (two days) and oval (one day) at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Richmond International Raceway. The Richmond test will be the first open test held in conjunction with a race event weekend.

Engine manufacturers Honda and Toyota will be allowed a single day of manufacturer testing for full-time teams that use their engines.

The new policy also includes a provision that will earn the IRL team extra test days if they run teams in the sister Infiniti Pro Series.

Full-time IRL entrants that also field full-time entries in the Infiniti Pro Series can earn up to three additional testing days for each Pro Series car, up to a maximum of two Pro Series cars. For every four Pro Series races a team participates in, the team will receive one bonus test day for the IRL car. The Pro Series driver must be in the car for at least half of the bonus test day.

"The bonus testing program benefits the IRL driver and the Menards Infiniti Pro Series driver," Barnhart said. "The Pro Series driver gets the opportunity to gain valuable seat time in an IndyCar Series car and get additional feedback from the team."

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