Chilton leads morning IndyCar test session at Laguna Seca

Former Formula 1 racer Max Chilton put Carlin Racing on top of the NTT IndyCar Series lap speeds in the first top-rank open-wheel test at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca since Champ Car Spring Training in 2007.

Chilton leads morning IndyCar test session at Laguna Seca

With grim weather forecast for the afternoon, the session started early, at 8am, allowing 4hr30min of track time before lunch break. The impending weatherfront persuaded AJ Foyt Racing to head off early to Circuit of The Americas for next week’s Spring Training session without turning a wheel on track, in order to save one of its precious test days.

With Steinbrenner Harding Racing also missing, that left 21 participants, and Chilton – now entering his fourth year in IndyCar – narrowly eclipsed Chip Ganassi Racing’s rookie Felix Rosenqvist to take top spot. The Briton took both poles at this track in Indy Lights four years ago.

Given the frigid temperatures – 53degF has been the peak so far – everyone was at pains to stress that lap times didn’t mean a lot, nor will they very relevant for this September’s race. Nonetheless, Carlin can take heart that RC Enerson – a part-timer for Dale Coyne Racing back in 2016 – was sixth fastest in the #23 car he will share with Charlie Kimball this season.

Rosenqvist, who had only previously tested an IndyCar at Mid-Ohio, Barber and Sebring, was similarly impressive, over 0.4sec faster than teammate Scott Dixon who was troubled by braking issues.

Jack Harvey did well in the Meyer Shank Racing entry to eclipse his semi-teammates – James Hinchcliffe and rookie Marcus Ericsson – and also split the Andretti Autosport entries of 2012 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay and 2018 runner-up Alexander Rossi.

Team Penske had a low-key start to the season with Simon Pagenaud and Josef Newgarden only ninth and 11th, while Power props up the speed charts after losing more than three hours to an engine change after his original unit let go, just a handful of laps into the session.

Santino Ferrucci was a quarter-second slower than Coyne teammate Sebastien Bourdais, while Ed Jones was a second off Ed Carpenter Racing teammate Spencer Pigot’s time.

Kyle Kaiser was back in action for Juncos Racing, a driver/team combination that won here in Indy Lights back in 2016.

  1. Max Chilton Carlin-Chevrolet 71.29sec
  2. Felix Rosenqvist Ganassi-Honda 71.33sec
  3. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti-Honda 71.35sec
  4. Jack Harvey Meyer Shank-Honda 71.37sec
  5. Alexander Rossi Andretti-Honda 71.58sec
  6. RC Enerson Carlin-Chevrolet 71.62sec
  7. Zach Veach Andretti-Honda 71.68sec
  8. Scott Dixon Ganassi-Honda 71.77sec
  9. Simon Pagenaud Penske-Chevrolet 71.79sec
  10. Spencer Pigot Carpenter-Chevrolet 71.86sec
  11. Josef Newgarden Penske-Chevrolet 71.87sec
  12. James Hinchcliffe Arrow SPM-Honda 71.97sec
  13. Sebastien Bourdais Coyne-Honda 71.98sec
  14. Marco Andretti Andretti-Honda 72.07sec
  15. Santino Ferrucci Coyne-Honda 72.23sec
  16. Takuma Sato RLLR-Honda 72.32sec
  17. Marcus Ericsson Arrow SPM-Honda 72.42sec
  18. Kyle Kaiser Juncos-Chevrolet 72.53sec
  19. Graham Rahal RLLR-Honda 72.65sec
  20. Ed Jones Carpenter-Chevrolet 72.85sec
  21. Will Power Penske-Chevrolet 73.30sec
shares
comments
IndyCar’s big questions of 2019

Previous article

IndyCar’s big questions of 2019

Next article

Ericsson: Consistency in an IndyCar is “biggest issue”

Ericsson: Consistency in an IndyCar is “biggest issue”
Load comments
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win Prime

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win

Saturday, Oct. 16th, marks the 10th anniversary Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500.

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Prime

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Jack Harvey’s move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate, but their combined strength could prove golden, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 15, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Prime

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong résumé and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star Prime

2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star

Alex Palou has captured Chip Ganassi Racing's 14th IndyCar drivers' championship, and in truly stellar manner. David Malsher-Lopez explains what made the Palou-Ganassi combo so potent so soon.

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021
Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar Prime

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title  

IndyCar
Sep 24, 2021
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021
IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet Prime

IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet

The ace 20-somethings in IndyCar have risen to become title contenders, but the best of the series veterans are digging deep and responding – and will continue to do so over the next couple of years, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Aug 20, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Prime

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021