Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing has completed its first full day of testing on a road course since joining the unified IndyCar Series a year ago, with Robert Doornbos and Milka Duno enjoying a trouble-free private session at Sebring.
Remarkable as it may seem, NHLR has not been able to conduct much road course testing since the demise of the Champ Car World Series as its attempts to run at Sebring prior to round two of last season was halted by rain after six laps, and the team decided it would be better served by using its other allotted test days to run on ovals.
The Sebring session was also new recruit Doornbos' first day of running in an IndyCar on a road course, although his background in Europe and the final year of Champ Cars meant that he adapted without too much problem.
“It was good to be in a race car on a circuit I know again,” the Dutchman said after completing around 100 miles and clocking a best time of 53.8secs, “The Homestead oval was a completely new experience for me, so it was good to come not only to a road course, but one I knew. It gave me a chance to use my experience.
''The downforce is less than I am used to, so that took a little time to get used to, but our pace was decent, although the track was very slippery because not many cars were running. We made many changes throughout the day and, as rookies get extra miles, we were trying to use them in the smartest way possible without wasting them.”
Doornbos was joined on track by Duno, who again participated in a testing role with the team. The two drivers both enjoyed a trouble-free day.
“It was very good to run a full day of testing on a road course,” Duno admitted after lapping 2.4secs slower than Doornbos in roughly the same distance, “It was really my first full test day on a road course after running only a half-day here in March last year, where we completed 30 laps.
''It was only my second test with the team, and first on this type of course, so we are still getting to know how to work together, but it was very good. We made progress in everything we attempted, accomplished a lot and know where we have to improve.”
NHLR will not run today [Wednesday] but is expected to resume testing at Sebring on Thursday with Graham Rahal joining Doornbos for what will be the American's first full day of development work in an IndyCar on a road course.