Sebastien Bourdais set the pace in the rain-delayed rookie and refresher session that closed the first day of IndyCar’s Open Test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Making his first appearance in A.J. Foyt Racing’s ROK-iT-liveried No.14 Chevy, Bourdais managed a best of 224.427mph three-quarters of the way through the session, putting him comfortably clear of Dreyer & Reinbold returnee Sage Karam’s 222.048mph. Three-time winner Helio Castroneves planted his No.6 Meyer Shank Racing Honda third-fastest at 221.097mph.
“Pretty good refresher for the A.J. Foyt No. 14,” Bourdais said. “That ROKiT car was pretty good. It always feels a little different when you start at low speeds and the car’s never really settled, but we got through both phases and are ready to go tomorrow and start working properly. It’s all good.”
It was an industrious afternoon for all 11 of the cars that participated: Bourdais’ lap total of 43 actually put him on the lower side, while Dale Coyne Racing’s Pietro Fittipaldi rattled off 62 as he scrambled to fast-track his Indy familiarity, and Castroneves managed 55.
He was almost matched on that front by Simona De Silvestro, who blew out six years of Speedway cobwebs with a 51-lap session that yielded a best of 218.927. As the first driver into the 218mph range she had the Paretta Autosport car at the top of the timing screens for a brief stint in the first phase of the session, and ultimately settled into P6 just behind Arrow McLaren SP’s Juan Pablo Montoya.
Dale Coyne Racing’s Cody Ware climbed into his No.52 entry with an IndyCar experience bank of just two test days to lean on, but after spending the opening half of the afternoon settling in he improved to 214.876mph on his 49th and final lap.
The only interruption to the session was a yellow for a track inspection prompted by a weeper.
Testing resumes Friday morning at 9am ET.