Can You Sense It?

These past few months, we’ve been spoiled. True, we’ve not had an INDYCAR race since September 22nd (142 days if you were counting). Instead we’ve had a Silly Season that just won’t quit, and we’ve had the aeroscreen testing wetting our appetite. These past few days have been a tantalizing view of what is to become. “Spring Training” marks the full-field testing at Circuit of the Americas. It is a time for teams and drivers to have wheels on the ground. For most it’s time to get a feel for the aeroscreen in reality. For all it’s time to shake off the dust and get back into fighting shape. It has been a few months of upheaval and many teams are adapting to new drivers/new crew. For fans, and a big thanks to INDYCAR for live streaming the event, it is cars on track.

Spring Training is, for the second year in a row, at COTA. Drivers taking on one of the more graceful tracks on the schedule. The track has twenty turns and is 3.41 miles in length, it also includes multiple elevation changes. With those great cameras on the cars, it feels like a roller coaster. Last year Rookie Colton Herta (aka “young Colton Herta”) topped the speed charts with an average speed of 115.132 mph. Veterans Alexander Rossi (114.886 mph) and Will Power (114.617) rounded out the top three. At the end of four-sessions twenty-five drivers put down 2367 laps. Veteran Josef Newgarden running the most laps with 115 and rookies Marcus Ericsson and Felix Rosenqvist tied for second with 114 laps.

Open Test Entry List

Day 1

Well you know who had the fastest time on Day 1? Mother Nature. Texas decided to play with everyone and have a wet, cold dreary February day. Now for those of us in the upper part of the U.S., that is every February day…everyone thought Austin would have fared better. Quite truly the real winners were all of us waiting to see the beautiful liveries. Can you even choose a favorite one? I can’t. Also with the liveries that windscreen just blends on in.

Day 2

Following a pretty shitty Day 1, and the consistent postponement of the third session. Day 2 ended up being a marathon of testing in the latter half of the day. The track transformed from wet and cold to dry and warm. There was some information gathering in the wet, including Rossi and the Carlin car (not Chilton) driving as close as they could to test that windscreen and it’s water repelling capability.

With it being a truncated training session, with a track that evolved consistently through the training, it was data gathering. Seeing Will Power and Alexander Rossi stop the speed charts is not surprising. What was surprising is rookie and Supercar Champion Scott McLaughlin in third. Oliver Askew, let’s label him a full-time Rookie, was seventh in speed and first in total number of laps. Good statistics on both accounts. What isn’t surprising given the weather is that Session 3 had a total of 1480 laps ran and the combined total was 1497. That’s just a but funny.

 

Can you use Spring Training to foresee the future? Perhaps for the race at COTA later on in the season. In 2019 Herta held the fastest speeds during Spring Training and went on to win the race (his average speed being 102.271mph and set the fastest lap at 112.732 mph). There is only one true thing I can foresee: in one month it’s the Firestone Grand Prix at St. Petersburg.

-Molly

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*all photos from Spring Training courtesy of the INDYCAR live stream