Six Verizon IndyCar Series drivers completed a one-day test session at Sonoma Raceway testing changes to the cars for 2016. This marked the first IndyCar test of the year on the 12-turn road course, which will host the 2016 series season finale at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, Sept. 16th through the 18th.
Participating Chevrolet drivers included Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud, as well as all four Chip Ganassi Racing Team drivers: Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball and the newly-signed Max Chilton, who took his first ever-laps in an Indy car.
“Any time we can get on the track is valuable,” said Dixon, the defending series champion. “We get such limited days, so we have a long list of stuff to go through whether it’s the new 2016 brakes, some new aero pieces, some mapping for the engine, and a lot of unanswered questions we have as a team. We could probably spend about a week out here and still have a list of stuff to go through. It’s great to be back in Sonoma.”
Chilton becomes the first British driver in more than a decade to have driven full-time in Formula 1 prior to joining the IndyCar Series. At 24, Chilton joins the team after making 35 starts in Formula 1 from 2013-2014 for the Marussia Formula 1 Team.
“It’s a bit of a shock today,” said Chilton. “I haven’t been in a racing car in six months and that was an Indy Lights car, so I’ve got to learn the track today and the car. But I think the morning went swimmingly well. I was quicker than I thought I would be. It’s a really nice kit and I can’t wait to explore it throughout the season.”
Castroneves, who captured the 2008 victory in Sonoma, saw today’s test as a great chance to bolster Team Penske’s championship chances for 2016.
“To win this race, you’ve got to put all the pieces of the puzzle together,” said Castroneves. “You have to have a good combination and there’s no question I have one of the best teams in the paddock and that’s why we’re confident that every time we come here, we’re going to do well. This track is very suitable for IndyCar because we are going really, really fast. No question it’s going to be another challenging race, and I’m looking forward to coming back here.”
For tickets to the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, call 800-870-RACE (7223) or visit SonomaRaceway online.