IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights teams will have two Open testing periods during the 2010 season beginning with a pre-season Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park next month, it has been announced.
The Barber Motorsports Park Open Test, slated for February 24-26, will be the only Open Test conducted prior to the start of the 2010 season. It marks the second-straight season that both IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights teams will conduct an Open Test at the scenic Alabama road course.
"The way the 2010 schedule falls allowed for the opportunity for our teams to focus their preseason plans on the road and street course events to open the season," said Brian Barnhart, president of competition and racing operations for the Indy Racing League. "By shifting the oval testing portion to in-season Open Test dates, teams have the option of keeping their equipment in road-course trim until they are ready to focus on the oval portion of the schedule, including the month of May at Indianapolis."
The first four races for IZOD IndyCar Series and first three Firestone Indy Lights races will be contested on road/street courses, including the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on April 11.
The Open test at Barber Motorsports Park will be the third time the IZOD IndyCar Series has held an Open test in Alabama. Seven drivers tested at the facility in October 2007 and both series hosted their pre-season road course Open Test at the track last March.
"We are honoured to have the Indy Racing League in Birmingham for the Open Test, which will be a prelude to the inaugural event in April," said Gene Hallman, president of Zoom Motorsports, the exclusive event promoter of Barber Motorsports Park "The Open Test will allow the drivers additional experience on the finest road course in North America."
Meanwhile an in-season oval testing day for IZOD IndyCar Series teams is scheduled for the 1.5-mile oval at Kentucky Speedway on May 4. Firestone Indy Lights rookies will join IZOD IndyCar Series teams for their rookie oval orientation programme at Kentucky Speedway on May 3.
IZOD IndyCar Series teams are allowed up to six private testing days and a minimum of 800 miles testing depending on the number of full-time cars fielded by the team, in addition to the three Open Test dates. Teams can earn an additional 300 bonus testing miles by testing a Firestone Indy Lights driver at least 600 miles for a maximum of three private test days.
The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season opens March 14 with its first race in South America - on the streets of vibrant Sao Paulo in Brazil - while the initial race for Firestone Indy Lights is March 28 on the picturesque St. Petersburg street circuit.