Eight years after his last outing in Ed Carpenter’s No. 20 Chevy, Ryan Hunter-Reay was nothing but smiles after taking the car out for 100 laps of testing on Monday at Barber Motorsports Park. The outing was the 2014 Indy 500 winner’s first run for ECR – and any team, for that matter – after departing Andretti Autosport after the Long Beach season finale in September.
On the unofficial timing and scoring feed, which does not capture whether drivers use extra push-to-pass horsepower to post their best times, Hunter-Reay was second on the day, without the benefit of P2P assistance.
“Yeah, it was great,” he told RACER. “It was really nice to have a different view on things. It’s a totally different balance to what I’ve been used to, different grip, different everything else. Ed and I have been kicking this testing idea around for a little while, and I’ve worked with [race engineers] Matt Barnes and Peter Craik before, and the crew chief used to be my crew chief at Andretti before, so it was a really comfortable environment.
“We ran through a whole bunch of different setups and things that they wanted to validate and had questions on just to get a different perspective from me, and we had a pretty decent day.”
ECR has not made a decision on who will share the No. 20 with Carpenter next season. Conor Daly was signed for road and street course duty, and could return to the car. Hunter-Reay is also known to be of interest to the team.
“We’ll see; I really can’t elaborate on it,” Hunter-Reay said. “I hadn’t been in Ed’s car since Sonoma 2013 when we (Andretti) were with Chevy and they were cool with me helping Ed get a different read on his car. It was a good first day, and we had some teething issues to work through, but as a whole, the team did a good job and it was fun working with a smaller team again.”