Andretti Autosport teammates Alexander Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay spent the latter stages of Thursday morning’s IndyCar test session at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca conducting a ride swap.
With Rossi inserted into Hunter-Reay’s No. 28 DHL Honda and RHR buckled into Rossi’s No. 27 NAPA Honda, the two sampled each other’s chassis setup in an effort to point the Andretti engineers in a faster and sharper direction towards optimum handling.
Although Hunter-Reay, the 2012 NTT IndyCar Series champion and 214 Indy 500 winner, isn’t in contention for the title during this weekend’s season finale, Rossi holds second in the standings and holds a reasonable chance of overtaking championship leader Josef Newgarden in the double-points showdown.
“We’re just working together, and we’ve done this in testing at Sebring and we’d do it more often if we had the time,” Hunter-Reay told RACER. “With the open test today, we did have time and it let’s us try two radically different setups with two guys who are the same height, the same build, and go test at the same exact time on the racetrack, so we took advantage of that opportunity. I think we got some good reads out of it.”
Rossi turned five laps in Hunter-Reay’s car, turning a best of 1m12.5454s. In Rossi’s car, RHR produced a lap of 1m13.0518s in seven tours of the 11-turn, 2.3-mile road course — and made hand gestures after climbing from the car that indicated it demanded his full attention.
Rossi’s engineer Jeremy Milless and Hunter-Reay’s engineer Ray Gosselin will take the feedback provided from their drivers and make adjustments for the afternoon that should allow both cars to make rapid improvements.
“It helps give us an idea of what tire degradation is like with each setup, how both might react in race conditions,” Hunter-Reay continued. “And when you have drivers who like the same setups, and fit the same car, it’s a no brainer.”