Newsstand » Hinchcliffe Fifth Fastest in IndyCar Test
Birmingham, Alabama (March 14, 2011) – Canada’s James Hinchcliffe made the most of his opportunity to pit himself against the full 24-car 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series field on Monday finishing the opening day of the final pre-season test fifth fastest at Barber Motorsports Park, Alabama.
Hinchcliffe, enjoying his third test outing in an IndyCar courtesy of Newman/Haas Racing, impressed with the second fastest lap time in the morning’s session, good for fifth overall on the day, followed by the seventh quickest time in the afternoon on the way to recording a total of 70 laps.
The 24-year-old Toronto resident comfortably claimed ‘top rookie’ honours at the 2.3-mile permanent road course, bested only in the morning by 2010 Series Runner-Up, Will Power – Hinchcliffe’s time a 1m12.872s (113.622mph) to Power’s 1m12.715s (113.868mph). The Australian again headed the timesheets in the afternoon, with a faster lap of 1m12.505s (114.198mph) – the Team Penske driver continuing his domination of road courses having won the ‘Mario Andretti Road Championship Trophy’ last year.
‘Hinch’, last season’s Firestone Indy Lights Series Runner-Up, dialed himself in quickly to the demands of driving an IndyCar around the scenic Barber Motorsports Park – the Canadian no stranger to the track having set the pace in last year’s equivalent pre-season Indy Lights test.
With his two previous IndyCar runs for Newman/Haas Racing hosted at Florida’s Sebring International Raceway, in December and January respectively, the rookie was pumped by a change of scenery testing once again alongside Catalan veteran, Oriol Servia, who finished the day 14th fastest.
“It was a good, solid day and I’m definitely happy to be in the top-ten,” stated Hinchcliffe. “I had certain expectations but today’s efforts exceeded them which is great. We made some good gains in the car but to be fair I spun early in the afternoon and flat-spotted a set of tires. That forced me to run my stickers way too early. A couple of stints later I matched my best lap which isn’t bad considering the super-high tire degradation at this track so we reckon there’s more time to find!
“I enjoyed myself, even if it was a bit nerve wracking this morning seeing everyone lined up. I hadn’t been out on-track in an IndyCar with more than four other cars until now. I’ve also been watching most of these guys race on TV for the last five years so it was a little surreal to be there with them. We just got on with our program though and accomplished all we wanted!”
Tuesday marks the final day of testing before the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series field gathers in St. Petersburg, Florida for Round 1 of the 17-race season, Friday 25th – Sunday 27th March. The 2011 schedule includes two Canadian stops, the ‘Honda Indy Toronto’, Sunday 10th July, and the ‘Edmonton Indy’, Sunday 24th July – http://www.indycar.com
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