INDIANAPOLIS (April 20, 2021)— For the second straight year, AJ Foyt Racing has engaged ripKurrent, an energy solutions integrations firm, as an associate marketing partner of Charlie Kimball’s No. 11 Tresiba Chevrolet for the month of May in Indianapolis.
The ripKurrent branding will be on the engine cover of the No. 11 car for both the Indy Grand Prix and the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. The ripKurrent logo will also appear on the nose cone of two other Foyt Racing entries for the 500: the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet driven by Sebastien Bourdais and the No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet driven by rookie Dalton Kellett.
“It’s great to continue the relationship with ripKurrent for a third year!” said Kimball who will be making his 11th run at the 500. “Getting to know them as a company, but more importantly, the people that make up the company, has been awesome. Seeing how they work with, and alongside, their clients proves to me they are great partners in business. Hopefully, having them as partners with AJ Foyt Racing is a winning combination!”
The company plans to entertain its guests throughout the month of May.
“I am excited for ripKurrent to be back with AJ Foyt Racing for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500,” said Jade Culbertson, Founder & President of ripKurrent. “A.J., Larry and their team have put together a strong group of drivers and are poised for a great month of May. We are looking forward to our association with the entire team, especially our prominent identification with Charlie Kimball and the #11 car.
“On behalf of ripKurrent and the Dye Capital family of companies, we can’t wait for May and to once again experience the greatest spectacle in racing with our family, friends, customers and colleagues.”
Based in Boca Raton, Florida, ripKurrent expanded its involvement in the NTT INDYCAR Series after having sponsored Kimball’s car at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway in August, 2019.
The No. 11 Chevrolet is based in the team’s Speedway, Indiana race shop.
“It’s great to continue the relationship with ripKurrent for a third year!” said Kimball who will be making his 11th run at the 500. “Getting to know them as a company, but more importantly, the people that make up the company, has been awesome. Seeing how they work with, and alongside, their clients proves to me they are great partners in business. Hopefully, having them as partners with AJ Foyt Racing is a winning combination!”
“It’s great to have Ripkurrent returning with us in the month of May,” said Team President Larry Foyt. “They have become great friends as well as being integral in the design and application of the cooling systems at the new Foyt Winery we are building. We look forward to continuing having them as part of the AJ Foyt Racing Team.”
The Indy Grand Prix will be held on Saturday, May 15th and will be broadcast live on NBC. The Indy 500 will be broadcast live on NBC on Sunday, May 30.
BIRMINGHAM (April 18, 2021)—Sebastien Bourdais drove the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet to a top five finish in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama giving AJ Foyt Racing its best start to the NTT INDYCAR Series season in years and best finish ever at Barber Motorsports Park.
If there was a Hard Charger Award, Bourdais earned it.
And he did it the hard way—starting 16th and barely skirting through the first lap melee triggered by Josef Newgarden’s spin that sidelined several cars. Both Bourdais and his teammate Dalton Kellett, who started 23rd in the No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA, got through the multi-car crash but they sustained damage to their cars’ undertrays.
This photo shot by Joe Skibinski of INDYCAR Photos shows just how close Bourdais’s escape was in the first lap crash.
Kellett pitted as a precaution on lap three when the pits opened during the six lap caution period. The decision proved fortuitous as he had a bent rear wheel. Bourdais thought he might have a damaged front wing but the crew eyeballed it and told him to stay out.
The key strategy call came during the next full course yellow on laps 10-11 when race strategist Larry Foyt and his engineers radioed to Bourdais to pit. The move set him up for a three stop race that allowed him to run hard against those committed to a two stop race where saving fuel was paramount.
Following that second full course caution, the race ran green for the final 79 laps. Bourdais, who led twice during the pit stop cycles, had some heated battles on track as he clawed his way to the sharp end of the grid with some masterful passes under braking.
The ROKiT crew came through with their best stop of the race on lap 63 before the final stint. On fresh blacks, Bourdais battled with Pato O’Ward who was able to leapfrog ahead by dint of his final stop which set up a tight battle amongst Bourdais, O’Ward and Marcus Ericsson. O’Ward muscled his way past Ericsson and set sail. Four laps later, Bourdais moved past Ericsson and into fifth. Once Foyt radioed Bourdais could stop saving fuel, he took off after O’Ward and closed the gap but had to settle for fifth.
Bourdais and Larry Foyt chat after the race.
“A really good run for the 14 ROKiT Chevrolet and A.J. Foyt Racing,” said Bourdais who was obviously pleased with the result. “A very solid day, a really solid race, good strategy, good pit stops and good pace so really happy for the whole team. We overcame a really dodgey day starting 16th and we put on a good show, made a bunch of passes so really happy for everybody. I’m looking forward to St. Pete.”
After surviving the first lap dustup, Kellett ran a solid race and finished 18th in just his ninth NTT INDYCAR Series race.
“It was a pretty chaotic start,” said Kellett, adding, “We got collected in a bit of that mayhem going through Turn 3 and into Turn 5 and kind of tagged Newgarden. We got some damage to the right rear and right sidepod, brought the car in for service, replaced a bent wheel with Firestone reds on it and put blacks on it.
The K-Line crew had solid stops.
“That changed our strategy up a bit because we had to run blacks for the whole race but that effectively opened up the window for us to fuel save and do three longer stints” he explained. “I think our overall pace was alright and I just need to work more on fuel saving while hitting that lap time.”
A.J. Foyt, who made it to only two races last year—the Indianapolis 500 and the season finale in St. Petersburg—was quite pleased with his team’s performance.
All smiles…A.J. and Seb pose for a minute following the race. Kellett in background heads to chat with his crew after getting changed.
“I was glad to see the 14 be leading the race for a change, it’s been long time since I’ve seen that,” said the seven-time Indy car champion. “Sebastien did a helluva job, got a little damage to the undertray in that first wreck but he came back hard and drove a great race. The crew did a great job in pitstops and Larry called a perfect race. Fifth is not what we’re satisfied with but it will get better. Dalton drove a good race, he’s kind of a rookie and still learning. He got in that wreck too and tore up his undertray which really hindered him but he drove a good race and stayed out of trouble; he drove a smart race.”
Team President Larry Foyt summed up the day by saying, “Really good start to the season for AJ Foyt Racing. We didn’t have the pace in qualifying we wanted, so both cars had to start towards the back. We were able to hit a decent strategy and Seb made some awesome passes to get the 14 car a top-five finish. Dalton was mixing it up through the field as well and gained a great deal of experience today.”
Alex Palou won his first career INDYCAR race after starting third and leading the most laps. Will Power finished second followed by current INDYCAR champion Scott Dixon, O’Ward, who led the second most laps at 25, and Bourdais, who led a total of four laps.
The Series heads east to St. Petersburg, Florida this week for the Firestone Grand Prix which will be broadcast live Sunday, April 25th on NBC starting at 12 noon ET.
BIRMINGHAM—Qualifying for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama was disappointing for the AJ Foyt Racing team especially after the positive test at this track in February when they were quickest amongst the 12 cars that tested at Barber Motorsport Park in Birmingham, Alabama.
The team never seemed to find the sweet spot in the setup on either car in the two practice sessions before the late afternoon qualifying rounds.
Bourdais, who qualified 16th with a time of 1 minute, 6.5035 seconds (124.505mph), explained,
“It was a bit of a tough day for the 14v ROKiT Chevrolet and A.J. Foyt Racing team. We had a really successful test and we were hoping for a really good weekend. Unfortunately, we unloaded a bit off this morning and we never really did figure it out and we ended up P-8 in qualifying in our group so a bit disappointed. Guess it’s going to be a long day tomorrow so we’ll try to make the best of it.”
Kellett, who shares a similar driving style to Bourdais, will start 23rd after posting s time of 1 minute, 7.8 seconds (122.106mph) in his No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet.
“It was a bit of a tough qualifying session for us,” said Kellett. “I didn’t quite get the most out of the car on the second lap on reds. On our quick lap, I had a big moment through the kink that cost us about half a second which obviously hurt us. I never did feel like I got the tires up to temp and didn’t quite feel I had the grip. So I have to think about it and look at what Seb was doing differently because the cars were pretty similar, so it was more of a feel thing than an actual setup difference. So we’ll have to see what he was doing to make it work and use that going into tomorrow.”
Pato O’Ward won the pole with a time of 1 minute, 5.8479 seconds (125.744mph). Completing the Firestone Fast Six were: Alexander Rossi, Alex Palou, Will Power, Scott Dixon and Marcus Ericsson.
The teams have a final 30-minute practice tomorrow morning before the race which will be broadcast live on NBC starting at 3 p.m. ET.
The 2021 NTT INDYCAR Series kicks off its 17-race season this weekend in the beautiful and aptly named Barber Motorsport Park outside of Birmingham, Alabama. AJ Foyt Racing is fielding the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet for four-time INDYCAR champion Sebastien Bourdais and the No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet for rookie Dalton Kellett in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. With exactly 200 more INDYCAR races under his belt than his 27-year-old Canadian teammate, Bourdais will be entering his 209thINDYCAR event this weekend. Following are both drivers’ thoughts going into the race weekend. Team President Larry Foyt also shares his thoughts below.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS On:
The challenges of Barber Motorsport Park: “It’s a pretty complete track, a couple of really hard braking zones, at which you have to be very aggressive, and for the most part, being a motorcycle race track, it’s very flowing. The corners are very long and one leads to the next, so the balance of the car needs to be really quite good. You don’t have any hopes of carrying the car around because if the car is not under you, the corners are too long.” (What do you mean by that?) “The long radiuses tend to close on themselves like Turn 2 for example. You are in the corner for like 4 seconds which is a very long time in an Indy car. Then you have a lot of elevation changes with pretty quick entry speed, blind approaches and quick apexes. You have to be very much on your toes to get your timing right and there’s not much room for error. You drop a wheel off and you’ll probably hit something since there’s grass on either side.”
Barber being a very physical track: “It is and particularly this year since they repaved the track last year; the mechanical grip has gone up significantly. The wheel is very heavy and the G’s have gone up, naturally. It’s just around a 2 hour race so yes, it’s going to be physical.”
Winter Testing at Barber: “It was a very productive couple of days that we had over there. The first test we unloaded and we were a tiny bit off. We learned from it and we came back a bit stronger, and it looks like we are a force to be reckoned with. The conditions should be fairly similar to when we tested with temperatures between 50 and 70. Hopefully, if everything we learned holds true, we’ll have the same car and a strong weekend.”
The unique designs of the car and uniform: “It’s a nice art exercise and definitely a strong point into creating something different and cool. The general response has been great. It’s always nice to wheel a car that everybody thinks is good-looking.”
Managing expectations for 2021: “I think the only way to stay focused and not get carried away or distracted or put pressure, is just to tackle weekends one at a time. Just do the best we can on the individual weekend. I don’t think we have any real legit goals as far as championship goes. I know Larry has mentioned the top-10, but I think trying to set goals or any serious targets are not particularly productive. It’s very pressurizing for an organization to come out with clear expectations. I’ve never really functioned like that. All you can do is do your very best and give a hundred percent and then results come or not. Racing is quite cruel sometimes. You do your very best and hope it’s enough to provide some strong results. If you look at the entry list, there are really no weak combinations at all and there are a lot of very, very strong packages with experienced guys who’ve been with their respective teams for a while, and new combinations that are strong cars getting some very good drivers in them. The gaps are going to be ridiculously small and you’re going to have to bring your A-game to contend for good results. So that’s why I’m really trying not to think much about it. We’ll see how things shake out and hopefully it looks good for us.”
The challenges for a driver to race on three different types of circuits in three weeks: “It’s one of the specificities of INDYCAR and why I love it so much. You have to be able to switch modes, from ovals to streets to roads and be up to speed right away. The driving styles are drastically different. Aggressive and very engaged physically on streets and roads. Very smooth on ovals. When the car responds well and you feel comfortable and confident it’s easy, but when the car isn’t there for you, things get quite tricky pretty fast.”
The compressed schedule of four races in 3 weeks: “It’s like we’re jumping straight into the thick of it — like things would be in May and June for us. I believe mixing schedules and different formulas has helped me to gear up for that pretty well. It’s always a bit more demanding to go back to back… but since I have gone as far as 8 weekends in a row, it should be fine. It also forces you not to stay trapped in the moment and move on, which is a good thing.”
Bourdais Fast Facts: Age 42…Born in LeMans, France…lives in St. Petersburg, Fla…Married to Claire, has two children, Emma and Alex…Ranks sixth on INDYCAR’s All-time Wins list with 37 victories and ranks seventh in career poles with 34…Ex-Formula One driver (2008-09)…Won 12 Hours of Sebring this year; has won Rolex 24 at Daytona overall (2014) and Petit LeMans…Finished second overall in 24 Hours of LeMans and won in the GTE class with Ford in 2016.
DALTON KELLETT On:
Barber Motorsport Park: “Barber is a fun, technical track. It really asks for a lot of commitment to be fast and you have to be precise, especially when the elevation changes affect the grip. Personally, I enjoy driving there, tracks that are fast and flowing are my favourite so it fits right in.”
Winter Testing at Barber: “Our off-season tests went well. I’m feeling more and more at home and we showed more pace relative to last year. I’m confident in our cars going into the season opener. I think we laid the ground work for a solid season of building from where we were last year.”
Cars: INDYCAR vs. INDY LIGHTS: “This track is quite a bit different in the Indy car than the Indy Lights car. The Indy car is obviously faster and has more grip overall, so the commitment level is higher. But on the other hand, the Lights’ harder tires and lack of sophisticated dampers and third springs make it more of a handful in the tricky sections, like going downhill through Turns 8 and 9. Where you can really attack the curbs in the Indy car, you had to be a bit more careful with the Lights car because the suspension and tires just couldn’t handle those inputs.”
INDYCAR 2.0: “My second season in INDYCAR is all about building from last year’s experience and continuing to learn. Working with Seb will be great from a driving and technical standpoint. I have a great opportunity to learn from one of the best, so I will be taking advantage of that at every step. I’m looking forward to returning to the track with some experience behind me and a better handle on what to expect from the car. INDYCAR is so competitive right now, the series is in a great place, we’ve got an extremely talented pool of drivers. Every position on the grid will be fought for, so we will all be on our toes and pushing very hard.”
Challenge of racing on three different types of circuits in 3 weeks: “Racing on the road courses, street circuits, and ovals is one of the hallmarks of the NTT INDYCAR Series. As a driver, you have to be diverse and adaptable. Going from Barber to St. Pete, to Texas is a great example. Our first three races are each on a different type of track (and Texas is a doubleheader). At this point, I feel like I have the experience to know how to approach each type and it’s just a question of taking some time between events to get in the mindset for the upcoming circuit.”
Kellett Fast Facts: Age 27…Born in Stouffville, Canada…lives in Indianapolis…Graduated from Queens University with a degree in Engineering Physics…Brand spokesman for Ten80 Education’s National STEM League…Enjoys rock climbing, backcountry skiing, camping, playing guitar, cooking and golf.
LARRY FOYT On:
The challenges of racing on three different types of tracks in three weeks: “First off, I think it’s one of the beautiful parts of INDYCAR that you have these diverse sets of race tracks with different skill sets needed and you have different drivers that excel at different ones. It really makes the competition interesting and challenging. I think the drivers and engineers have the biggest challenge of getting the setups right despite the differences. The great part about INDYCAR is to win the championship, you have to do well on all of them. It’s even more of a challenge having these four races back-to-back; that’s taxing on everybody, especially starting the season and going three weekends in a row. Everybody’s ready for it, you know it’s coming, and it’ll be really interesting to see how everybody handles it.”
What is involved in changing over the cars: “From a road course to a street course, it’s not so much. Going from the road course to street course is a mere setup change. We typically have specialized cars for ovals so that’s a little bit more of a challenge going from a road or street course to an oval. When we go to the oval, we have a lot of parts and pieces to change, the obvious aero changes, different rear ends that are built to an oval spec that we use. Here is one instance that being able to work in our Texas shop between St. Pete and Fort Worth is a big help.”
Assessing the progress the team has made since last season: “We’re encouraged by the testing over the winter and had made some big gains especially on our permanent road course setups. Obviously, the weather will probably be a little different from when we tested so the engineers have to adjust for that. We feel like we can do really well these first couple races, we just want to make sure we do all our basics as a team from pitstops and things like that. It’s the stuff you’re supposed to do right but it’s very easy to get it wrong and make a mistake. That can be very costly with all these teams being as close as they are. We want to execute the weekend well so we can get the result and show the speed we think we have.”
Foyt Fast Facts: Age 44…Born in Houston, Texas…Lives in Hockley, Texas…Married to Kelly and has a son Larry, Jr….Before joining his father A.J.’s team in 2007 as director, Foyt drove in NASCAR’s Cup (2003), Xfinity (2001-2002) and Truck divisions (sporadically)…Made three Indy 500 starts…Since becoming President of the team (November, 2014), Foyt oversaw expansion to two car team (2015), established race shop in Indy in addition to Waller, Texas…Co-founded Foyt Family Wines (2008) with A.J. Foyt IV…opened Foyt Wine Vault in Speedway, Indiana (2015)…Is currently building a Foyt Winery in Fredericksburg, Texas (2021).
Past Performance at Barber: Sebastien Bourdais has finished in the top-10 five times in nine races with a best start of third in 2018 and a best finish of third in 2019. Dalton Kellett will be making his first start in an Indy car here; his best start and finish in Indy Lights is sixth. AJ Foyt Racing’s best start is fourth in 2012 with Mike Conway who also posted the team’s best finish of seventh.
NBC streaming and broadcast information: On Saturday, NBC’s new streaming channel Peacock will stream practice from 11 – 11:45 a.m. and 2:40 – 3:25 p.m. Qualifying will be streamed live at 5:50 p.m. and a delayed broadcast airs on NBCSN at 10 p.m. On Sunday, the morning warmup will be streamed live at 11:30 a.m. The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama will be broadcast on NBC starting at 3 p.m. All times are Eastern Daylight Time.
WALLER, Texas (April 8, 2021) — Celebrating the 60th anniversary of A.J. Foyt’s first triumph in the Indianapolis 500, ABC Supply Co. Inc. will sponsor a fourth AJ Foyt Racing entry in this year’s 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. J.R. Hildebrand will pilot the No. 1 ABC Supply Chevrolet.
“ABC Supply is excited for the opportunity to support AJ Foyt Racing by sponsoring the No. 1 car for the Indy 500,” said Mike Jost, COO of ABC Supply. “A.J. is a living legend and part of the ABC family, and our 15,000 associates are honored to help celebrate the 60th anniversary of his first of four Indy 500 wins as a driver.”
Foyt, 26, poses in his winning car the day after a tough battle with Eddie Sachs. Foyt claimed his first of four Indy 500 victories on May 30, 1961. (INDYCAR Photo)
As a tribute to Foyt’s feat, the car will sport a throwback livery of the No. 1 Bowes Seal Fast Offenhauser roadster that Foyt drove in 1961. The car’s candy apple red nose will be trimmed with black stripes over a primarily white body. Further echoing the vintage livery, a large red No. 1 will emblazon the rear of the engine cover in addition to the normal positions on the nose and rear wing. The No. 1 belongs to PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing as the reigning champion but as a courtesy, Ganassi released the number to Foyt’s team for the Indy 500.
This livery is more than just a throwback for us,” revealed Team President Larry Foyt. “It is special to our team and family, and its imagery is something I have grown up seeing my whole life. It is wonderful that our longtime friends and partner ABC Supply will be the primary sponsor on this tribute to one of my Dad’s great accomplishments.
“Being able to sign a quality driver like J.R. will add another source of valuable feedback to our team which is especially important given the talent-packed Indy 500 entry list this year.”
Despite running only three full seasons in the NTT INDYCAR Series, Hildebrand has qualified for the past 10 Indy 500s, an impressive resume which led Foyt to hire him.
“This is definitely a drive to be excited about, and for multiple reasons,” said the 33-year-old Californian. “Getting the chance to drive for A.J. and Larry is something I’m looking forward to no matter what, but with ABC honoring the 60th anniversary of A.J.’s first 500 win that makes it extra special. I’ll be back in a Chevy which I’ve spent almost my entire IndyCar career driving, gain the benefit of three teammates, and get the chance to reunite, in a way, with an engineer I’ve had success with before in Justin Taylor, who’s race-engineering Seb this year. We all know that the 500 is only getting more competitive so we’ll all have to bring our best to the table, but that, to me, is what makes this race so worthwhile in the first place. I can’t wait to get rolling.”
Hildebrand scored his career best finish of second as a rookie in 2011, the centennial running of the Indy 500. It was a bittersweet finish for the then 23-year-old who had taken the lead with two laps to go. Passing a lapped car, he pushed high and tapped the outside wall which slowed him enough to allow Dan Wheldon to win. In 10 starts, Hildebrand has qualified in the top 10 four times and posted four top-10 finishes.
Carrying the theme further, Hildebrand will wear a solid white uniform, the same color Foyt wore, but unlike Foyt’s uniform, Hildebrand’s firesuit will feature many more marketing partners which made the fourth entry viable.
The ABC Supply crew will also wear uniforms modeled after the 1961 crew headed by legendary chief mechanic George Bignotti who won his first of a record seven Indy 500s with Foyt. With collars trimmed in black and featuring a black pocket, the crew shirts and firesuits will echo the Bignotti crew’s teamwear. Conceding to practicality, the crew will wear black pants instead of white.
There is a palpable excitement within the Foyt team about this effort and the 86-year-old patriarch feels it too.
“At my age, I don’t get too excited anymore but I’m thrilled to see this car painted like my ’61 car,” said Foyt. “That win was so special because it was my dream just to be good enough to make the race. To win it three years later well I was thrilled to death about it. They were all sweet victories but to win that first one after where I came from, it was unbelievable.
“Having ABC Supply sponsor this car is fantastic,” Foyt continued. “They were awful good to us as our main sponsor for 15 years and they came back for the 500 last year when things were pretty tough. Well, that just shows what type of company they are. We’ve been great friends and we’ll remain that way.”
Practice for the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge begins Tuesday, May 18 with qualifying set for May 22-23. The Indy 500 will be broadcast live on NBC starting at 11 a.m. ET
Image courtesy of A.J. Foyt Racing WALLER, Texas (March 23, 2021)–AJ Foyt Racing and Sebastien Bourdais will be rockin’ with ROKiT this year! The global conglomerate ROKiT signed as the primary marketing partner of the No. 14 Chevrolet to be driven by Bourdais in the NTT INDYCAR Series this season. The striking livery design embodies…
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Sebastien Bourdais posted the quickest time in testing at Barber Motorsport Park yesterday as five teams for a total of 12 cars took to the permanent road course outside of Birmingham, Alabama.
Driving the No. 14 Chevrolet, Bourdais set the fastest time of laps posted without the extra boost in power of push-to-pass. In addition to Foyt, the teams testing were Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan, Ed Carpenter Racing, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Team Penske.
“We had a pretty good day yesterday at Barber,” said Bourdais. “We went through a lot of stuff, testing dampers and some concepts as far as platforms. Everybody’s starting to work pretty efficiently together, the atmosphere is good. The car was pretty quick right out of the box and I had a really good time. Very positive day. With Barber being the season opener, you want to be cautiously optimistic. I think we should have a good card to play and be in the mix, which is always encouraging, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Sebastien Bourdais (L) chats with ex-Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean who is a rookie in INDYCAR this season. (INDYCAR Photo)
Ending up at the sharp point of the grid marked significant progress for the team which has noted that their permanent road course setups needed addressing. The addition of the four-time NTT INDYCAR Series champion driver has helped the engineering staff to define some of the problems.
Mike Colliver, who became the team’s technical director after hiring Justin Taylor to serve as race engineer on the 14 car for this season, said, “I think the test is just the continued development from some of the stuff we were doing at Road America last year. Charlie was pretty strong in Race 2 and Dalton was strong at Mid-Ohio for where his development is. We had a really good test at Barber in the fall with Sebastien, and some of that was combining what was done in the past, ideas that I brought, ideas that Mike Pawlowski (race engineer on the 4 car) had, and we combined things. We were pretty quick in the fall and we just came back with the same car. Covid and the compressed schedule has helped us catch up and gave us the time to have in-house development of some of the tools we could use to analyze and quantify things. Yesterday’s test was a good validation for some of those tools.”
Bourdais and Mike Colliver began working together in 2020. Here they are at St. Pete last fall where Bourdais posted his million dollar run in the race by finishing fourth and securing the team’s berth in the Leaders Circle. (Foyt Racing Photo)
Asked about the contributions that Bourdais has made to the program, Colliver was quick to point out, “He’s a huge help. Just his wealth of knowledge is a huge help from a couple standpoints. One, he understands mechanically what the car is doing and secondly, he gives the changes to the car a fair shot. He will go out and run six or seven laps, and maybe the first two laps it doesn’t feel great and maybe he’ll change something in his driving style or he’ll wait a little longer for the tire pressures to come up or do a click on the rear bar, whatever he needs to do. And then he comes in and tells you it either worked or didn’t and why. His analytical approach combined with his experience is really refreshing. He doesn’t get rattled, he’s very calm and meticulous in the car.
“But it is also the whole feel of the group, the engineering group is really working together well,” Colliver revealed. “Everybody is putting work in that shows up on both cars and really on Seb’s because of his driving ability. From the data guys, to the guys who are doing simulations, the junior engineers, Danielle’s (Cucchiaroni, performance engineer) knowledge, and Justin is doing a great job. Everybody is pulling in the same direction which is really cool.”
Rookie Dalton Kellett, in the No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet posted the 10th quickest time. Kellett had a slight miscue early on in practice which resulted in light contact with the tire barrier. He was back on track after some minor repairs. Kellett was just the first of many drivers to bring out red flags due to spins during the day long session.
Kellett listens to his teammates while awaiting his car’s repair. (INDYCAR Photo)
“We had a good test overall,” said Kellett, who ran eight races last year. “I’m encouraged by the gains we are making and I think we have a very solid car. It felt good to be back at Barber. I love the track but it can bite you! On my second run, I got loose on power in T13 and had an off. I caught the initial slide but then my trajectory was off and I was headed for the grass. I had some contact with the tire barrier and we were down for repairs. It was unfortunate to lose testing time that way, especially when the engineers had a full list of items to get through. The crew did a great job getting the #4 fixed and ready to go. We ran all afternoon and worked through most of the items on the list. We’re continuing to learn more about and refine our damper package and the overall balance was where it needs to be. I think we’re in a good spot for the season opener in April!”
When push-to-pass times were factored in, Kellett was ninth quickest while Bourdais, who only tested push-to-pass to make sure it worked, dropped to second, behind Rinus Veekay with Ed Carpenter Racing.
Kellett at speed on the picturesque road course at the end of the day.(INDYCAR Photo)
Team President Larry Foyt summed up, “It was a solid test day for the whole team. We had a lot of items to get through and I think we got good data on the majority of them. Seb had good speed in the 14 car all day which was nice. Dalton worked through an early incident to get back on track in the 4 car and get some good running in. It was certainly one of our best tests on a permanent road course which is encouraging for the season.”
The team has one more private test planned at Texas Motor Speedway at the end of March before the Open Test at Indianapolis in early April.
Note: All photos courtesy of INDYCAR PHOTOS except where noted.
WALLER, Texas (Feb. 11, 2021) — AJ Foyt Racing announced today that Charlie Kimball will be back in the cockpit for two races in the 2021 NTT INDYCAR Series. The 35-year-old Californian will pilot the team’s No. 11 Tresiba® Chevrolet in the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 30 after competing in the Indy Grand Prix on the IMS road course on May 15.
For the 13th consecutive season, Kimball will partner with his longtime sponsor, Novo Nordisk, a global healthcare company, as part of the company’s Race with Insulin initiative. Tresiba® (insulin degludec injection) 100 U/mL, 200 U/mL is the insulin Charlie takes to manage his type 1 diabetes. Novo Nordisk has sponsored Kimball every year since his 2009 debut in the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tire Series. Kimball debuted in the NTT INDYCAR Series in 2011.
“I am excited to once again represent Novo Nordisk and the diabetes community and to join AJ Foyt Racing for the month of May,” Kimball said. “I have never run at Indianapolis without Novo Nordisk and to be able to return this year with the support of the legendary A.J. Foyt, Larry Foyt, and everyone at AJ Foyt Racing, will certainly be special.”
For the month of May, Kimball will be part of a three-car effort from the Texas-based team, partnering with Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 14 Chevrolet and Dalton Kellet in the No. 4 Chevrolet. Kimball ran the full 2020 season with Foyt and closed it out finishing eighth in St. Petersburg, Florida.
“It’s awesome to have Charlie and Novo Nordisk back for the month of May,” said Larry Foyt, president of A.J. Foyt Racing. “They were both great to work with throughout the challenges of 2020, and I’m glad we can continue the program. Charlie is focused on producing great results, and we are working hard to put the best group together for success.”
n 155 races, Kimball has posted six podium (top-three) finishes, and an additional eight top-fives. He has finished in the top-10 (6ththrough 10th) 45 times and has led 163 laps.
“Over the last 13 years, Charlie Kimball and Race with Insulin have become an important part of Novo Nordisk,” said Chip Amrein, lifecycle management and connected care lead. “We are pleased to join AJ Foyt Racing for both the Indianapolis Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500 this year and to continue supporting Charlie as an ambassador and inspiration within the diabetes community.”
SEBRING, Fla. (Jan. 20)—AJ Foyt Racing began their 2021 NTT IndyCar Series season with positive results in their first test session of the year at Sebring International Raceway on Monday and Tuesday.
Four-time IndyCar Series champion Sebastien Bourdais, who will drive the No. 14 Chevrolet full-time this season, and sophomore driver Dalton Kellett, who will still be considered a rookie this year after nine starts last season, checked off all of the boxes in the team’s ambitious testing plan Monday and Tuesday.
Team President Larry Foyt was pleased with the two day session, noting, “It was a positive first test of 2021 for our team. We had a few new team members and everyone came together nicely. There were many items to get through from off season projects, so we turned a lot of laps and the drivers gave the engineers a great deal of data to sort through.”
Bourdais tested on Monday only but it was enough time to become familiar with his race engineer Justin Taylor who joined the team over the winter. Mike Colliver, who engineered Bourdais to a fourth place finish in St. Petersburg in October and guaranteed the team’s berth in the Leader’s Circle Club this year, is now the Technical Director overseeing both cars.
Asked about Taylor, Bourdais replied, “I think he is a brilliant guy. He’s done a lot of things, he’s very down to earth and easy to work with, so it’s a great addition on the timing stand. Mike (Colliver) has taken the role of technical director now and with Daniele (Cucchiaroni) as the super assistant–he is completely capable of being the race engineer–I think we’ve got a lot of smart guys and deep brains on the timing stand which is great. I very much look forward to working a bit closer with Justin and I think it’s going to be a great relationship.”
Kellett tested both days in the No. 4 K-Line insulators USA Chevrolet. He began working closely with race engineer Mike Pawlowski, whom he had met when the two men were at Andretti Autosport.
“Working with Mike was great,” the 27-year-old Canadian said. “We crossed paths briefly when I was at Andretti, but I don’t think he actually ever engineered on my car though – he left the (Indy) Lights program just as I was starting there – but we’ve been working well together. He’s a strong engineer that came up with a good plan and good ideas to test. I think with the changes in engineering such as bringing on Justin and having Alex (Diaz) as the assistant engineer on our car, it’s been a good working environment. With Mike Colliver overseeing everything, I think we’ve got a strong engineering platform this year for sure.”
When asked what the team accomplished, Bourdais explained, “We had some questions on dampers and part of the work had to do with damping philosophies. We did quite a few variations in that and it was good to be able to go through all of it. I think we did validate some of the things that we had question marks on, so it was pretty positive on those fronts. You always get the oddball run where you’re not sure what happened and what’s going on, but for the most part we did get pretty good reads and it’ll give us direction.”
Working with a four-time champion whose ability to set up a car is well known in the paddock, Kellett points out that he and Bourdais have similar expectations from the car in terms of setup.
“I think we’ve had good communication and he’s been great to work with,” said Kellett, who was on the timing stand in St. Pete and listened to Bourdais’s feedback throughout the weekend. “I think when we look at our feedback (over this test session) for the most part like 95 percent of the time, we’re on the same page, so that’s always really good. When you work independently of each other, and then reconvene at the end of the day and compare notes, it seems like for the most part we’ve been saying the same thing, which is good for my confidence. It’s good for the engineers because they know that they have two drivers that they can develop along the same lines, same set of concepts, with the same process in mind, so you don’t have the 4 car on one idea and the 14 car doing something else, so we’ll be a little more collected I think.”
Kellett, whose speed was very competitive relative to the other teams testing over the two days (Chip Ganassi Racing, Andretti Autosport and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing), compared his session at Sebring a year ago to this year.
“I think the biggest thing in comparing apples to apples with the two Sebring tests from last year, I think feeling all on top of the car. It clicks really fast now that I’ve got a year under my belt with this car. I don’t get into the car and have to adapt to speed and learn the tires and all that so I’m happy with that. Overall, I think it’s the confidence in knowing what the limit of the car is. That’s been a big improvement over the year.”
Both drivers expressed optimism about the season that lies ahead but before the NTT IndyCar Series opens, Bourdais will be on track with the JDC-Miller Motorsports team to compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona later this month.
“I have a long history with endurance racing and the big classics in the racing world,” said Bourdais, who was born in Le Mans, France where the world’s premier endurance race, the 24 Hours of Lemans, is held. The 2016 GT class winner in that event, Bourdais has also been victorious in the American rendition in Florida, saying, “I was lucky enough to win Daytona, once overall (2014) and once in GT (2017), and at Sebring (overall in 2015), so those are fun races. They are races that every professional race car driver wants to put on his resume at some point.”
Indeed, his IndyCar team owner A.J. Foyt would agree as he was a two-time overall winner in the twice around the clock race at Daytona (‘83 and ’85) and also won the 12 Hours of Sebring (’85) with Bob Wollek, a multi-time champion in endurance racing.
Bourdais continued, “On top of that, we are fairly limited in the number of test days we have in IndyCar and sometimes you get to the start pf the season being a bit green and haven’t driven very much. When you get a 24 hour race with some pretty treacherous conditions under your belt before the IndyCar season starts, and the 12 hour race as well, so it’s never bad. There are definitely a lot of considerations that make it a plus for me to run this program and keep me sharp. Plus, I enjoy it!”
Bourdais and Kellett will test again next month at Barber Motorsports Park in preparation for the NTT INDYCAR Series season opener at the picturesque road course on April 11.
WALLER, Texas (Dec. 15, 2020)—Canadian Dalton Kellett will drive A.J. Foyt’s No. 4 Chevrolet full-time in the 2021 NTT INDYCAR Series. K-Line Insulators USA returns as the primary sponsor, moving from the No. 14 to the No. 4 for the upcoming season.
The 27-year-old rookie drove for Foyt in eight races this year as driving duties behind the wheel of the No. 14 Chevrolet were shared throughout the 14-race season by three drivers: Kellett, Tony Kanaan and Sebastien Bourdais. Bourdais returns to drive the No. 14 Chevrolet full-time as announced earlier this year.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be back with AJ Foyt Racing for the 2021 season,” said Kellett, who lives in Indianapolis. “Securing a full-time ride is a big boost heading into my sophomore year in INDYCAR. Despite the challenges presented by Covid-19 in 2020, A.J., Larry, and the Foyt team continued to develop their car and elevate the program, while standing by their employees and partners. That’s the kind of team I’m proud to both race for and be a part of. Being paired with Sebastian will be a great opportunity to continue to learn from one of the most experienced veterans in the field. I can’t wait to get back on the track for off-season testing and back behind the wheel in 2021.”
Next year the NTT INDYCAR Series schedule features 17 races, including a doubleheader at Texas Motor Speedway in early May and a new street course in Nashville, Tenn. in August.
Despite the challenges of Kellett’s rookie season taking place during a pandemic which sharply curtailed the normal track activity, he displayed a keen ability to stay focused and adapt, which factored into Foyt’s decision to retain Kellett for 2021.
“We are very happy to have Dalton back with the team and more importantly that he will be driving full-time,” said Team President Larry Foyt. “With the limited track time in 2020, it was a tough year to be a rookie, but he jumped in with a great attitude and adjusted to the Indy car quite well. He was getting quicker with each event and had a great test at Barber [Motorsports Park] recently. I think Dalton will truly benefit from having four-time champion Sebastien Bourdais there full-time. I’m really looking forward to seeing how our team progresses in 2021.”
The first scheduled team test will be in January at Sebring International Raceway in central Florida. The 2021 INDYCAR season gets underway on Sunday, March 7th in St. Petersburg, Fla.