Honda, Sato Lead the Way at Indy Car Pre-Season Open Test

2/11/2018 6:36:00 AM

  • Takuma Sato quickest in three of four practice sessions
  • Graham Rahal and new teammate Sato run 1-2 Friday night as Honda-powered Rahal Letterman Lanigan drivers lead every full-field session
  • 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series opens March 11 in St. Petersburg, Florida

Defending Indianapolis 500 champion Takuma Sato dominated the time sheets Friday and Saturday at ISM Raceway, leading three of four full-field practice sessions and finishing second to teammate Graham Rahal in the fourth during the Verizon IndyCar Series Open Test in preparation for the 2018 season.

The Honda-powered Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing duo paced the 23-driver field throughout the two-day event, which included afternoon and evening sessions each day.  Sato led the first three-hour session on Friday, and both practices on Saturday, while teammate Rahal and Sato ran 1-2 on Friday night.

Rahal ended the test fifth overall as Honda drivers claimed six of the top-10 speeds in the combined results.  Andretti Autosport drivers Marco Andretti and Alexander Rossi finished sixth and seventh, respectively.  Scott Dixon ended the test ranked eighth, despite a crash in the final 45 minutes of the final practice, while Ryan Hunter-Reay rounded out the top-10 in his Andretti Autosport Honda.

The 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season opens on March 11 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda) 2017 Indianapolis 500 winner, fastest in IndyCar Series Open Test this weekend at ISM Raceway: "The open test was very successful, I would say. There were a lot of things to do, and lots of things to be tried.  I think over the course of two days we learned a lot. The new car is great [with a new aerokit bodywork for 2018], definitely more exercise for the drivers, definitely busier with low downforce. We did qualifying simulations and race traffic runs. I think the Rahal Letterman Lanigan team is really strong, so I'm really looking forward to two more road course tests [prior to the start of the season], and hopefully we'll be ready for St. Petersburg."

Allen Miller (Race Team Principal, Honda Performance Development) on this weekend's open test: "This being a test weekend, you can't read too much into the results, and there is still a lot of work for us to do prior to the start of the season. But we are very satisfied with the results from these last two days here at ISM Raceway.   We're looking forward to the start of racing next month in St. Petersburg, and to seeking our fifth victory in the last seven years at the Indianapolis 500." 

Verizon IndyCar Series Pre-Season Test
Circuit:       ISM Raceway (1.022-mile oval) Avondale, Ariz.
Weather:     Clear, mild, 74 degrees F

Indy Car Open Test Combined Results:

Ps.

Driver      

Team

Manufacturer

Speed mph

Notes

  1.

Takuma Sato

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Honda

189.855

  2.

Will Power

Team Penske

Chevrolet

189.769

 

  3.

Tony Kanaan

A.J. Foyt Racing

Chevrolet

189.632

 

  4.

Josef Newgarden

Team Penske

Chevrolet

189.399

 

  5.

Graham Rahal

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Honda

189.090

  6.

Marco Andretti

Andretti Autosport

Honda

189.008

  7.

Alexander Rossi

Andretti Autosport

Honda

188.940

  8.

Scott Dixon

Chip Ganassi Racing

Honda

188.530

  9.

Simon Pagenaud

Team Penske

Chevrolet

188.430

 

10.

Ryan Hunter-Reay

Andretti Autosport

Honda

188.331

Other Honda Results


11.

Sebastien Bourdais

Dale Coyne Racing                

Honda

187.958

12.

Ed Jones

Chip Ganassi Racing

Honda

187.696

15.

Pietro Fittipaldi-R

Dale Coyne Racing                

Honda

187.217

16.

Robert Wickens-R

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

Honda

186.293

17.

Zach Veach-R

Andretti Autosport

Honda

186.232

22.

James Hinchcliffe

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

Honda

183.533

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