NEW ORLEANS April 10, 2015– The first practice session for the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana was a struggle for the ABC Supply team as the Verizon IndyCar Series made its first visit to NOLA Motorsports Park. By the second session, however, the drivers were more comfortable with the cars and optimistic about their chances for the weekend.
In the first session, which was run under hot and humid conditions, the cars were deep on the speed charts (22nd and 23rd) and neither driver was happy. However, after analyzing the data, the engineers were able to come up with a setup that gave the drivers more confidence. Only 18 cars ran in the second session as some teams did not practice due to the less than ideal track conditions.
Takuma Sato, who was ninth in the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda, said “It was a difficult first day for NOLA. The first session we were struggling with the grip level and the balance when the track was dry and we had to go through a lot of items and data to figure out why. In the second session, the track conditions were a little tricky because it was damp but towards the end it was 80-90 percent dry but there were still a couple damp spots. It’s relative but the car improved a lot and the car is in the ballpark. It was a good improvement and we were very happy that we were able to run the second session to check it out.”
Jack Hawksworth, who was 11th in the No. 41 ABC Supply Honda, also felt better about the improvement to his car’s handling, and said, “We didn’t roll off in the direction we should have but we wanted to try something that we thought was the way. We found a new direction the second session and I think it made a big difference. Both cars are looking a little bit better now and hopefully we can have a good day tomorrow.”
Tony Kanaan, in the Ganassi Chevrolet, was the quickest of the day with a time of 1:18.8743 (125.058 mph) around the 2.74-mile road course, a time he set in the first session. All of the times in the first session were quicker than the second session due to better track conditions.
The teams have one more practice session tomorrow before qualifying which will be televised live on NBC Sports Network tomorrow starting at 5 p.m. ET. The 75-lap race will be broadcast live Sunday afternoon starting at 2:30 E.T.