Reigning IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden and ECR duo Ed Carpenter and Spencer Pigot were the latest to sample the new-for-2018 universal aero kit in a one-day Chevrolet test at Texas Motor Speedway on Wednesday.
It was the second such test in less than a month at the 1.5-miler, following on from the Honda test featuring Scott Dixon and James Hinchcliffe in late October.
“It feels different [to the 2017 car]; I wouldn’t say drastically different from a feel standpoint,” said Newgarden. “This type of an oval will be less [of a] change than some of the other tracks with aero configurations. There’s a small difference just running alone.
“Everything getting lower, the sidepods getting pushed forward – those are the big aesthetic differences we really wanted. There is more crash structure in the way of the driver with the sidepods coming forward, but it looks more like an open-wheel car. The shaping of the sidepod looks like a proper open-wheel car. The engine coming lower, having a blow-through roll hoop signifying that’s a turbocharged car… those little things I think make it look really, really good.”
Pigot’s sole oval appearance last year came with Juncos at the Indy 500, and he said that the test was a good refresher in the art of turning left as he prepares to move from road/street course duties in ECR’s No.20 to running full time in the No.21 next year.
“I’m excited to go oval racing again,” he said. “It’s been awhile since I’ve consistently driven on ovals. I think it will only help that I will be in the car throughout the whole season rather than here and there.
“This is something I’ve never really been a part of before; developing a somewhat new car with the team. On the road course side of things, it’s been all my feedback. Hopefully, it is a good thing and not a bad thing when we get to the first race. It’s a cool experience to step up into a full-season role and also step up in a development way as well. It’s nice to be here on the ovals and have Ed driving the car a lot. He’s got a ton of experience, someone I can ask questions to and relate to a lot more than when we’ve been doing road-course testing so far.”
IndyCar is scheduled to race at Texas on June 9.