SEBRING, Fla. (March 3, 2014) – Graham Rahal, 25, completed his first test day of 2014 today at Sebring International Raceway in preparation for the upcoming IndyCar Series season. He ran a total of 124 laps around the 1.65-mile short course in the No. 15 National Guard Honda and was pleased with the end result.
“Overall we had a good day of running,” said Rahal. “We dealt with a couple of issues this morning so we started a couple of hours into the day but we got a ton done in a short period of time. We worked through our entire test list and I feel pretty good about where we stand. The engine we’re running is a fairly old, very early spec of the Honda twin turbo and it ran great. I think it’s a little bit down on power compared to the latest spec so for us to be right in the mix with everybody else, it felt pretty good.”
It was a sunny day with temperatures approaching 80-degrees Fahrenheit but other conditions weren’t as ideal.
“The conditions on track weren’t very good,” said race engineer Bill Pappas. “They had a Trans-Am and vintage race here this weekend and the track was slippery and greasy. There were four other Indy cars here with us and all morning everyone was slip-sliding around. We worked on the car through the course of the day and kept improving the grip which is what Graham was complaining about and by the end of the day he thought we were pretty close. We seemed to improve with each lap and the feedback mirrored the lap times. We weren’t chasing the track and got through all of the things we wanted to test and are pleased with that. We’re looking forward to getting back on track with the race spec Honda twin turbo at BarberMotorsportsPark in a couple of weeks.”
“It was great to get back out on track,” added Rahal. “It’s been a long winter and I feel like, as a team, everyone has kept their nose to the grindstone. We made some great changes and I see nothing but good things to come. I feel very confident with where our car was today with limited running. We really tried to save tires (for future testing) and I still felt that we did a phenomenal job. It felt good to finally get in the car and just get going. I’m excited to get back in the car in Barber (MotorsportsPark) in a couple of weeks. You look at the car and see how great it looks with National Guard on it and feel proud to be representing them. Once you get in the car though, the focus is on getting the most out of testing so that we can do the best job possible for them and ourselves.”
The 2014 IndyCar Series season begins with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 30. Graham Rahal became the youngest winner in major auto racing history when he drove to victory in his first IndyCar Series race at the 2008 event at the age of 19. The following season he became the youngest pole winner in series history at the same event – both while driving for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, a team co-owned by Michael Lanigan at the time.
– RLL –