INDYCAR has deliberate plan for Texas open test

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Most Verizon IndyCar Series open tests offer teams time to hone in on specific items where they need to improve. Wednesday’s open test at Texas Motor Speedway has a more wide-ranging purpose.

All 21 full-season cars plus the Indianapolis 500 entry for Gabby Chaves are scheduled to participate in the daylong test on the 1.455-mile oval in Fort Worth, site of the Rainguard Water Sealers 600 in June. The track has undergone major renovations since last year’s race won by Graham Rahal in the closest finish in TMS history – 0.0080 of a second over James Hinchcliffe.

The entire track was repaved, with an improved drainage system installed underneath the surface to speed the track-drying process in the event of inclement weather. In addition, Turns 1 and 2 were reconfigured, lowering the banking from 24 degrees to 20 degrees and widening the track in that area from 60 feet to 80 feet.

TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY OPEN TEST: Entry list

The primary objective for the test is to establish the best aerodynamic configuration for the Indy cars when the series returns for the June 9-10 race weekend. Bill Pappas, INDYCAR’s vice president of competition, engineering, explained that the test will be split into two three-hour sessions. In the first session, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. ET, teams will be permitted time to set up their cars individually before a full-field run will be completed.

During the break between sessions, data will be evaluated and driver feedback obtained by INDYCAR officials. If aero configuration alterations are necessary, they will be made and another full-field run will take place in the second session that runs from 4-7 p.m. ET.

“Because it’s a new configuration of the racetrack – geometry and resurfacing – we want to make sure that we get the aero configuration right to have a good, close, safe race,” Pappas said. “We’ll basically give the guys some time to sort their cars out, then we want to run a group run with the field. Get them out there and say, ‘Is this enough downforce, is this not enough downforce?’

“Then we’ll stop, get a debrief from the drivers and determine if we need to make an adjustment for an afternoon run. And if we need to, do it again.”

Texas Motor Speedway is offering fans the opportunity to watch testing from its exclusive Speedway Club. Admission is $15 and includes access to the Speedway Club grandstands and lunch. Call (817) 215-8434 for details.

A live video stream of testing, along with timing and scoring, will be available at RaceControl.IndyCar.com.

Ticket information for the Rainguard Water Sealers 600 weekend is available at texasmotorspeedway.com. The June 10 race is the ninth of 17 on the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule and airs live at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network. Texas Motor Speedway has hosted 28 Verizon IndyCar Series races since the facility opened in 1997.

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