Grosjean fired up for first Indycar test

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Romain Grosjean will be one of several drivers taking part in an NTT Indycar Series private testing on Tuesday at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.

The venue of the season-opening Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by AmFirst takes place on Sunday, April 18.

While every team is focused on its unique objectives for testing on the 17-turn, 2.38-mile natural road course, it’s almost certain that most eyes will look at the #55 Dale Coyne Racing with RWR pits because Formula 1 veteran Romain Grosjean will drive an Indy car for the first time.

The Frenchman, whose fiery accident during last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix shocked the world, is fully fit after the ordeal in November, is upbeat about his return to the cockpit, in particular Indycar.

He told the official series website: “I have watched 18 hours and 36 minutes of Indycar racing over the last couple of months. I think the excitement comes from the fact that in Formula 1, after Turn 1 you normally know what’s going to be the race result just because you know the pace of the car. Some things can change, but nowhere as much as in Indycar.”

Grosjean used Indycar’s 2018 race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course as an example, illustrating his point in detail.

“Sebastien Bourdais had an issue in qualifying and started in the back of the field. He came back (through the field) like a bullet from the gun and finished sixth, just behind Scott Dixon.

“The race was not over (for Bourdais). The strategy was the alternative one. He started on the black tire, went for the reds, just came from the back. That was great to see.

“(It’s) the way you can follow the car in front of you, the way you can slide the tires, the way you can either try to play with your ‘push to pass,’” he said. “The fact the cars in qualifying are within six-tenths (of a second) of each other, that is all really exciting.”

Grosjean, who turns 35 on Indycar’s opening weekend, had 180 starts over 10 seasons in F1. His first season, in 2009, was with Renault, then it took two years to connect with Lotus, where he spent four years. He spent the past five seasons with the Haas F1 Team.

Alabama Indycar Testing lineup:

  • AJ Foyt Racing: Sebastien Bourdais, Dalton Kellett
  • Dale Coyne Racing: Romain Grosjean, Ed Jones
  • Ed Carpenter Racing: Conor Daly, Rinus VeeKay
  • Rahal Letterman Racing: Graham Rahal, Takuma Sato
  • Team Penske: Scott McLaughlin, Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power

No live timing or video will be available because this is a private test.