Current and next-gen IndyCar test schedule altered by bad weather
The 2024 engine tests continued for a third day today with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon continuing to pound the pavement with Honda Performance Development’s 2.4-liter engine, and Will Power taking over the Penske-run Chevrolet 2.4-liter car from teammate Josef Newgarden.
Testing for these next-gen engines – currently running without the spec hybrid units they will utilize on their race debuts – is ‘closed door’. However, GM’s IndyCar program manager Rob Buckner was able to tell Motorsport.com that Tuesday was “another good day with the 2.4-liter. It’s been flawless for a new engine debut, and we’ve been able to work through all of our items.”
Continued cold weather persuaded IndyCar, Chevy and Honda to come to a mutual agreement to extend the test through tomorrow, when the weather is set to be much warmer. Forecasts suggest a peak temperature as high as 75degF, whereas today saw conditions barely creep above 45degF. However, there are also some predictions of high winds and potentially storms in the area.
This miserable spell of weather has also adversely affected car count for the scheduled Thursday test of current-gen cars on the IMS road course, halving it to just 10 cars. Those set to participate include the four-car Andretti Autosport-Honda team – Colton Herta, Alexander Rossi, Romain Grosjean, Devlin DeFrancesco – as well as Meyer Shank Racing-Honda’s Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud, Juncos-Hollinger Racing-Chevrolet’s singleton entry piloted by Callum Ilott, and three cars for Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet, driven by full-timers Felix Rosenqvist and Pato O’Ward and GP Indy / Indy 500 extra Juan Pablo Montoya.
These 10 cars will test on the standard 2.439-mile 14-turn version of the road course, as opposed to the pair of 2.4-liter cars which have been utilizing a 15-turn 2.587-mile version that uses the “inner loop” at Turn 5. This sends the cars around to the right, followed by a left-horseshoe before they rejoin the back straight. This is the same layout where the top three 2021 Indy Lights finishers were able to test IndyCars last November.
Some of the teams that have pulled out of Thursday’s Indy test will instead spend Monday, April 4 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, AL. These include Ganassi, which is thus going through a second change of schedule. The defending champions had originally hoped to use its test day at Texas Motor Speedway, but when that was postponed by three days – again, due to unsuitable weather – the team elected to shift its attention to the IMS road course.