Junior Open Wheel Talent

News and Views on Drivers Chasing Open-Wheel Stardom

Indy Lights: Barber Motorsports Park Test

by Ryan Stringfield
Posted February 26, 2010 at 4:53 pm Indy Lights, Test

With temperatures hovering just above the 40 degree Fahrenheit mark in Alabama this morning, Indy Lights’ drivers cautiously entered the track for their first official test of the 2010 season.  According to the Tweets of several teams… no one wanted to be the first driver on track.  Philip Major, who is driving for Sam Schmidt Motorsports, was the first driver willing to test the limits of adhesion on the cool racing surface.  Shortly thereafter he was joined by the balance of the field, which included 14 drivers.

Martin Plowman (Andretti Autosport) quickly jumped to the top of the timing and scoring page early in the session.   It didn’t take long for Canadian James Hinchcliffe (Team Moore) to take away the top spot.  Plowman remained close throughout the morning session but was unable to re-take the fast lap.

In the afternoon session, Andretti Autosport’s Charlie Kimball held the top spot for a lengthy period of time but was eventually bumped down the charts by Hinchcliffe.

Keep in mind that lap-times aren’t essential to a “good test” and every team had different objectives heading into today’s session.  Regardless, I’ve compiled a few thoughts on today’s test (which tend to revolve around lap-times)… so, as usual, it is up to you how serious you want to take this.

What Was Good

  • JK Vernay– Despite a lack of experience in a Firestone Indy Lights car, Jean-Karl quickly jumped up the timing charts (holding the third quickest lap for most of the morning).  He was by far the quickest rookie during the test.  During the morning session he was over a full second quicker than teammates Pippa Mann and Philip Major.
  • James Hinchcliffe– Hinch was very fast in both the morning and afternoon session.  He was the only driver to break into the 1:14’s throughout the day, setting a fast lap of 1:14.9604.
  • Charlie Kimball– Kimball only ran 15-laps during the morning session due to an engine issue (see below).  Despite running very few laps, by comparison to all the other competitors, Kimball managed to post the 3rd quickest time of the morning session trailing Hinch’s fast time by a mere 0.8946 seconds.

What Wasn’t So Good

  • Cold Temps- Well, it didn’t snow, but the cold temperatures (especially during the morning session) caused some problems for a few teams and drivers.  Not to mention the fact that the conditions greatly affected the amount of useful data teams were able to take away from today’s pre-season test.  The afternoon temperatures were in the low-50’s.
  • Rodrigo Barbosa– Barbosa has more experience than 57% of the drivers taking part in the Barber Motorsports Park test, but still trailed the field in both the morning and afternoon session.
  • Kimball’s Engine Failure– During the morning session, Charlie Kimball was forced to only run 15-laps due to an engine failure.  He quite possibly would have been much higher on the time sheets if he was able to run more laps.  Regardless, Andretti Autosport did a great job getting him back on track quickly.

___________

Combined Results Sorted by Lap Time

  1. James Hinchcliffe 1:14.9604 (session 1)
  2. Martin Plowman 1:15.0832 (session 1)
  3. Charlie Kimball 1:15.1716 (session 2)
  4. Sebastian Saavedra 1:15.3818 (session 2)
  5. Jan Heylen 1:15.5407 (session 2)
  6. Stefan Wilson 1:15.5912 (session 2)
  7. JK Vernay 1:15.6040 (session 2)
  8. Gustavo Yacaman 1:16.0609 (session 2)
  9. Pippa Mann 1:16.7144 (session 2)
  10. Richard Kent 1.16.8621 (session 2)
  11. Philip Major 1:16.9294 (session 2)
  12. Adrian Campos Jr. 1:17.5841 (session 1)
  13. Carmen Jorda 1:18.9406 (session 2)
  14. Rodrigo Barbosa 1:19.8520 (session 2)
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