Saturday, July 20, 2019

Herta Tops First COTA Test Day

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The first day of NTT IndyCar Series testing at Circuit of The Americas featured two rookie drivers in the top five, led by Indy Lights graduate Colton Herta for Harding Steinbrenner Racing.

Herta, behind the wheel of the No. 88 Honda, sped to the top of the timesheet in the second of two sessions at the Austin, Texas circuit with a 1:46.6258. The effort marked the fastest lap of the day among the 25 drivers participating in the series’ first official test of 2019.

The first-year IndyCar pilot also topped Session 1, although all drivers posted improved times in Session 2 on the 3.41-mile track best known as the home of Formula One’s United States Grand Prix.

Team Penske’s Will Power came closest to dethroning Herta. Attempting a fast lap with mere minutes remaining on the clock, Power spun his No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet and brought out simultaneous red and checkered flags. His best lap, a 1:47.1044, was nearly a half-second off Herta’s time.

Power’s Indianapolis-only teammate Helio Castroneves ended the day with the third-fastest lap, adding a second Chevrolet to the top five.

Rookie Felix Rosenqvist and defending series champion Scott Dixon, both representing Chip Ganassi Racing, completed the top five with Hondas. Despite being fifth fastest, Dixon was 1.4 seconds shy of Herta’s best lap.

Zach Veach locks up Indy car tires in 2019 COTA Open Test
Zach Veach’s Gainbridge-liveried Honda turned its first public laps Feb. 12, 2019 at COTA. | Photo: Shivraj Gohil / Spacesuit Media

Simon Pagenaud, Alexander Rossi, Graham Rahal, Santino Ferrucci and Spencer Pigot completed the top 10. Rossi, Rahal, Ferrucci and Pigot were the top performers for Andretti Autosport, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, Dale Coyne Racing and Ed Carpenter Racing, respectively.

In the faster second session, Rosenqvist and Pigot each turned a session-high 38 laps while Castroneves completed the most laps across both sessions, ending the day with 56 revolutions of the FIA Grade 1 circuit. A total of 1,034 laps were completed across both sessions.

The series will return to the track Wednesday with six hours of planned testing spanning two sessions. The first will run from 10 a.m. to noon CST. The Open Test will wrap up with a four-hour session set to begin at 1 p.m.

Ben Hinc
Ben Hinchttp://www.benhinc.com
Ben's executive editor title is purposefully broad to encompass the bottomless list of roles he fills for The Apex, which includes webmaster, graphic designer, quality consultant and writer. Ben's technical background and progressive media distribution approach set The Apex apart technologically and philosophically.

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