Open Test: Highs and Lows
PHOENIX Feb. 27, 2016—The Verizon IndyCar Series returned to Phoenix International Raceway with an Open Test this weekend. For the ABC Supply team it was a case of highs and lows.
Both Takuma Sato and Jack Hawksworth visited PIR for the first time yesterday. Both ABC Supply drivers enjoyed running at the one mile oval track, of which Sato said, “It's great to be back in the car especially on the oval-- the sensation of speed is very exciting. Phoenix is a quite challenging track. I like that Turn 1 and Turn 4 are very different in character. It’s great fun!”
The cars ran a daytime session (12 – 3pm) and a night session (5-8pm) both days which allowed them to test the cars in track conditions they will have for qualifying (daytime) and the race, which starts in the early evening (around 5:30pm) on April 2.
Sato posted his best time in the Saturday evening session with a speed of 188.679mph, which was fourth best in that session. In the combined results for the two days, it was 13th quickest.
“It was a very productive two-day test here in Phoenix,” Sato said after the on-track activity concluded. “I’ve never been here before so there was a lot to learn, especially with the new aero package and new engine. The engine felt very powerful so we’re getting competitive speeds and that is exciting. The two sessions in the daytime and then again at night were quite tricky because the balance shift was quite big—more than we expected—but that means we learned a lot. Now we head to Sebring for another test to gather more data.”
Despite some minor setbacks, Hawksworth, who turns 25 Sunday, had been settling in when things took a turn for the worse in the final evening session. As he explained, “We came into Turn 1 and the car just got loose. I caught it, but by that time it had all the lateral force and just took me into the wall. I don’t know what happened, but we snapped and that was it.”
Hawksworth escaped injury, but the car sustained significant damage to the right side suspension. Hawksworth had reached a top speed of 184.010mph in the afternoon session.
Sato had lightly brushed the wall earlier in the night session when he had to avoid a car which slowed dramatically in the racing line in Turn 1. Sato’s car sustained cosmetic damage to the right rear bumper but was able to continue once the car was checked out by the ABC Supply crew.
The team returns to Sebring International Raceway Wednesday for a final test before the season opener in St. Petersburg March 11-13.