Alabama’s Barber Motorsport Park will host the first official activity of the Verizon Indycar Series when it hosts an open test Monday and Tuesday. While the teams have been testing throughout the lengthy offseason this will be the first time most of the full time teams and drivers will be on the same track at the same time.
There are twenty-one teams on the entry list with only one TBA, coming predictably from Dale Conye Racing’s second car. I’ve been trying to narrow down the possibilities by going through drivers’ twitter accounts but yeah, any guess is a good guess.
For a number of teams it will be the first chance they have to see how their new drivers stack up against the field. Ed Carpenter Racing’s road course driver Mike Conway has had a busy off season, but says the Barber test is critical when it comes to team chemistry.
“We knew it would take some time to get everyone together and on the same page,” Conway said in a press release. “I think we have continued to learn quite a bit already in the testing. A few days at Barber will help us for the season opener too. This series is extremely tough and the talent level is very high. So we need to be as prepared as possible when St. Pete comes. But I’m ready to go racing with this group.”
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing had a horrid year in 2013 and needs to bounce back to impress their big new sponsor in the National Guard.
“The Barber open test will be crucial for us because it’s the first time we can really compare ourselves to others,” Rahal said in a press release. “We feel we have made some big improvements but are not sure where our speed and competitiveness will rank compared to others. It’s also important because it’s our first test away from Sebring. We feel we have found some great improvements with the setup that should translate but Barber is certainly a lot different than Sebring.”
For the three rookies, Mikhail Aleshin, Jake Hawksworth and Carlos Munoz it’ll be the first chance to get on the track in their cars against a nearly full field. Only Munoz has run an Indycar race, finishing second in the Indy 500 last year, and he hasn’t faced a full field on a road course before. It will be interesting to see how quickly they find their footing.
The test is only open to Barber season ticket holders, and even though I’ve been to every Honda Grand Prix of Alabama ever held that’s apparently not good enough to rate getting in to watch a test. Live timing and scoring should be available at indycar.com