Castroneves says 2018 IndyCar demands more finesse
Three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves, preparing for his first Indy as a part-time IndyCar driver, admitted learning the new-for-2018 aerokit has been difficult although he says the team has been a big help in the transition.
Castroneves was switched to Penske’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship program with the Acura ARX-05 this season, but has been brought back to race a fourth IndyCar for the Grand Prix (in which he finished sixth) and the 102nd running of the Indy 500. He said that the series switch from manufacturer aerokits to spec Dallara kits had made IndyCars more demanding.
“At this point the car is different, no question, compared to last year,” he said. “Everybody was used to a lot more downforce, so you can really step on it, flat out anyplace you go.
“Now you got to drive. You got to have a little more finesse with the car. It certainly takes a little bit of adjustment.
“I'm excited. I'm excited because it's great to be in such an awesome place. We definitely are going to continue working hard so we achieve the goal.
“Definitely it's not my first rodeo. I have a lot of experience. Just trying to find the database in my head here to see which car in the past that I ran before with these kind of conditions.”
Castroneves also expressed his gratitude for having the opportunity to return to have another run at the Indy 500, as Juan Pablo Montoya did last year after being replaced by Josef Newgarden on the fulltime roster at the end of 2016.
“Obviously coming back here, first of all, I want to thank Roger and Cindric for giving me the opportunity to be back at the Indy 500. It's such a special place for so many people. Just to be back and able to continue our goal and pursue for the number four, it's incredible.
“Having phenomenal guys surround me, that's what you need to succeed. We have that. We have the equipment, we have the people behind; now we’ve just got to put all the pieces together.
“Everybody is working together to find the best setup. I cannot do this on my own. Having not only myself but Josef [Newgarden], Simon [Pagenaud] and Will [Power] working together with the engineers, we’re all trying to eliminate the scenarios, trying to find a solution as quick as you can.
“As I said, when you have a good team behind you, it makes this transition much more smooth.”
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