Wednesday’s mini Verizon IndyCar Series test at Road America left one of its runners with nothing but elation after flying around the 4.0-mile road course.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing entries for Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports cars for James Hinchcliffe and Robert Wickens, A.J. Foyt Racing’s Matheus Leist and Juncos Racing’s Alfonso Celis took to the circuit. Afterward, it was Rahal who said the new universal aero kit brought his No. 15 Honda to life at the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin venue.
“Elkhart’s in a league of its own when it comes to road courses in the country, and with the new bodywork, the car just continues to accelerate down the straights more and more; it’s awesome,” he told RACER.
“We had a little less downforce than last year — not a ton, and it made it so fun to pound around.”
Top speeds have been up on road and street courses this season with the new lower-downforce aero kit. Lap times, as a result, have been up in many cases, and Rahal believes the gap to 2017’s high-downforce cars will be negligible once qualifying gets under way on June 23.
“For the first day there for us, we were in the [one-minute] 44s,” he said. “The pole last year was a low [one-minute] 41, so come qualifying, with a lot more Firestone rubber put down, and on reds, I think we’ll be real close. For today, the Schmidt cars are always a good reference; they’ve been fast this year, and it went well for us.
“And back to driving the car, it’s a lot of fun even around the Carousel; it’s a blast. As I said to a group of fans that were there watching, Elkhart highlights all the right things about Indy cars and IndyCar racing.”