Hunter-Reay tops opening day of Texas test

Chris Owens/IndyCar

Hunter-Reay tops opening day of Texas test


Hunter-Reay tops opening day of Texas test


The NTT IndyCar Series took its high-speed oval testing program to Texas Motor Speedway on Tuesday where seven drivers took part in a scripted run around the 1.5-mile circuit.

The test was meant to build upon the information captured on Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where, amid the tests to simulate the power coming with 2023’s kinetic energy recovery systems, the four drivers also gave feedback on aerodynamic changes to the underwing.

Tuesday’s group added to the series’ data gathering by running together late in the afternoon with something north of 150 pounds of new downforce compared to the aero configuration used at the TMS race in 2020.

After using a set of new tires to find an acceptable chassis balance on their own, six of the seven drivers — excluding Jack Harvey, whose car turned nine early laps, then remained in the garage –– hit the high banking and took turns leading and following as directed by IndyCar while using a second new set of Firestones.

Wednesday will be busier as the field expands to 17 cars taking part in a private test which will feature more aero testing for IndyCar in preparation for the May 1-2 doubleheader at TMS.

“It was a good first try, and I’m sure they’ll come up with more things for us when the group gets bigger tomorrow,” Ryan Hunter-Reay told RACER after leading the unofficial speed chart for Andretti Autosport. “Yeah, we had the fastest lap, but the added downforce didn’t pan out exactly as we were hoping. It was pretty tough.

“We had some of the underwing infills on the cars and that brought a considerable amount of additional downforce. In the first five or six laps on new tires, you could feel its effects compared to last year. (But) once the tires started to degrade, it went back to what it was like in the past.

“Looking forward to seeing what they want us to try tomorrow and maybe get closer to the target.”

TOP LAPS (All speeds unofficial):

Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 28 Andretti Autosport Honda, 222.442 mph
Simon Pagenaud, No. 22 Team Penske Chevy, 222.268 mph
Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevy, 222.259 mph
Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevy, 222.204 mph
Takuma Sato, No. 30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda, 222.058 mph
Sebastien Bourdais, No. 14 A.J. Foyt Racing Chevy, 221.212 mph
Jack Harvey, No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Honda, 220.076 mph