IndyCar »

Hildebrand opens '09 bonus test programme.

JR Hildebrand knew exactly what to expect when he finally got behind the wheel of an IndyCar Series car for the first time. After all, he's been training for it for the better part of a year.

The American, who will drive the #27 ARPRO car for AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing in the Firestone Indy Lights series this season, became the first driver to participate in the new IndyCar Series bonus testing programme when he turned laps with Andretti Green Racing at Sebring International Raceway.

Under the new initiative, an Indy Lights driver can test three times, or amass up to 600 miles, with an IndyCar Series team and, for every 200 miles that Hildebrand drives, an IndyCar Series driver can log an extra 100 miles of testing. At Sebring, he worked with the #27 Formula Dream crew that usually fields reigning IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year Hideki Mutoh.

''There isn't any one thing in particular that a [Lights] car does differently to an IndyCar Series car,'' the 21-year old revealed, ''As a driver, what makes a car difficult to get used to is when there is something way different.

''The IndyCar Series car was better and faster all around, but driving a Lights car is a good preparation for driving the IndyCar. I didn't feel uncomfortable, I was able to get up to speed and that shows that the series is a good proving ground for anyone who wants to move up the ladder.

''It was a learning experience for sure. I got used to a bigger car and felt how the changes make a difference. In terms of driving it, I guess the biggest thing to me, performance-wise, is the acceleration, but also the traction and the amount you can put the power down.

''I think I would have been better off to get a button on the steering wheel to press to accelerate when I was coming out of the final hairpin because the signal from my brain to my foot just wasn't fast enough. That was the most impressive part of the car.''

But more than just gaining valuable experience in an IndyCar Series car, Hildebrand was also under a degree of pressure to get up to speed as quickly as possible and provide feedback that would help his new AGR team-mates when they took to the track.

''It didn't take me too long to get up to reasonable pace,'' he reflected, ''[Luczo Dragon's Raphael] Matos was running there too, and he gets around there so quick, so we felt he was a good benchmark for me. We were able to keep up with him so, all in all, it was a good useful day for the team. I was happy to be competitive with Rafa and got a lot of data from the guys to use with Hideki and Marco [Andretti] the next day.''

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Scott Dixon - Chip Ganassi Indy Car [credit: IndyCar TV Twitter]
Will Power Texas
Charlie Kimball
Ed Jones feature
Ed Jones feature
Ed Jones
Ed Jones feature
Ed Jones feature
IndyCar, Dallara 2018 chassis, [Credit: IndyCar]
Graham Rahal Detroit celebration
Detroit IndyCar race start
Detroit IndyCar Andretti RHR
Esteban Gutierrez IndyCar Detroit
Graham Rahal Detroit IndyCar 2017
Takuma Sato Detroit IndyCar
Graham Rahal Detroit
Detroit Indy Conor Daly
Detroit IndyCar Helio Castroneves

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.