Formula 1 star Fernando Alonso got his first taste of an IndyCar in road course trim on Wednesday at Alabama’s Barber Motorsports Park.
The McLaren driver used the green and blue chassis piloted by Carlos Munoz at the Indianapolis 500 to sample the manufacturer logo-free Dallara DW12-Honda chassis wearing IndyCar’s 2018 universal aero kit, and after rain fell in the morning, the Spaniard posted unofficial times in the dry afternoon session that were said to be a few tenths below April’s pole set by Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden.
“Yeah, it was a good day, a fun day,” he said. “I love to test new cars and to test the IndyCar on a road course is something special. I’ve been lucky enough to test it in wet conditions, in intermediate conditions and in dry conditions, so overall I had a good feeling on every type of track. The weather was good for us today – a little bit of wind in the afternoon but overall a positive day.”
Alonso had the crew from Ryan Hunter-Reay’s Andretti Autosport entry looking after his car at Barber. Beyond offering his appreciation for the test, which was facilitated by McLaren, no insights or hints at future plans in the IndyCar Series were given.
“It was something that I was looking for last year already,” he added. “I had some options to test the car on a road course after the Indy 500. We didn’t find the time, but this year it’s definitely happened now and I’m happy for this. I love being behind a steering wheel, and definitely a new car, a new experience, learning a lot of things from the team, the engineers, everyone, so a happy day.”
Asked if he preferred the 2017 Dallara-Honda in Indy 500 superspeedway trim or the 2018 version of the car in road course configuration, Alonso chose both.
“Probably my instinct will tell me road course, because it’s what I’ve been used to doing all my life, but the Indy 500 was an amazing experience, so 50/50,” he said. “I think I love the way the car feels on a road course, but I love the way you compete on ovals, timing the tows, traffic and all the overtaking maneuvers I think are a little bit easy on the ovals, so in terms of track action I loved the Indy 500.”