Another offseason of silence will come to a welcome end next week as six NTT IndyCar Series teams pay a visit to Sebring International Raceway for two days of testing.
A.J. Foyt Racing, Carlin Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing will take to Sebring’s short course on Monday to kick off the festivities. Of the known drivers set to appear in Florida, Foyt will have Sebastien Bourdais in action on Monday and new full-season teammate Dalton Kellett in the second car for both days. Like Kellett, Carlin’s Max Chilton will also drive on Monday and Tuesday. All four of Ganassi’s drivers will venture out in their cars, with reigning champion Scott Dixon, Marcus Ericsson, along with newcomers Alex Palou and Jimmie Johnson anxious to record their first laps of the new year.
In an interesting twist, the other half of the Sebring circuit will be utilized for IMSA sports car testing where CGR’s brand-new Cadillac DPi-V.R program led by Kevin Magnussen and Renger van der Zande will turn its first laps ahead of the upcoming Roar Before The 24 and Rolex 24 At Daytona on the final two weekends of January. CGR estimates that across its five cars, a staff of 80 will be onsite in Sebring.
On Tuesday, four Andretti Autosport entries driven by Colton Herta, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi and Marco Andretti will share the track with Carlin and Foyt, and add Meyer Shank Racing and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato to the mix.
Jack Harvey (pictured, top) will represent MSR, and says there’s a massive sense of relief and anticipation readying the team for the new season that launches in April.
“It’s nice just to be able to start the year with a clean day,” he told RACER. “I know St. Petersburg has been pushed back, but we’re happy just to be able to get in the car, so we’re raring to go at Meyer Shank Racing. We’ll evaluate some setup things at Sebring that will hopefully pay off for the rest of the year. It’s important to get on track and start that process. It brings happiness to us all. And since we don’t know what might change for the rest of the year, there’s a real sense of optimism that comes from knowing we’ll do something definitive like go out and go testing.”
Entering his fifth season as an IndyCar driver with MSR, Harvey believes a different tone has been struck in the wake of a strange and abbreviated 2020 championship run.
“I feel like there’s a new appreciation for IndyCar when I talk to the other drivers and people on other teams,” he said. “It’s like there’s a really good spirit of positivity. Sometimes, people can get weary about things; going from one season to the next maybe doesn’t feel that special, but I think that’s evaporated a lot.
“I think more IndyCar people are really thankful to have this series and this opportunity that maybe, before COVID-19 hit us, and we had a lot of changes and some risky times, the appreciation wasn’t fully there. I mean, we’re all going to fight each other as hard as ever but maybe we’ll be happier to have that chance, in the first place, more often.”