"It was a little bit alien getting back in an IndyCar after four or five years, and not having raced anything in more than a year now," she admitted. "It took me 40 laps or so just to feel comfortable again, but we did a lot of laps this afternoon and I'm very happy with the way it's progressing."
Brazilian driver Ana Beatriz also got some track time on Thursday, taking over James Hinchcliffe's GoDaddy.com/Andretti Autosport car for one day in expectation of her picking up a one-off ride at Sao Paulo in April.
"It was fun to drive the new car today. It has a lot of grip and I'm still learning about it," said Beatriz, who raced alongside Justin Wilson at Dreyer & Reinbold in 2011 but does not currently have a full-season deal for 2012. "It was a great test with Andretti Autosport. I learned a lot today and it will be a great experience to take into the future."
Missing out in the afternoon was Bryan Herta Autosport's Alex Tagliani. After running a respectable 37 laps in the morning, his Lotus engine developed a throttle problem over lunch. Because of the new drive-by-wire systems involved, it took a long time to track down and resolve the glitch. However, team boss Bryan Herta was confident that Tagliani's car would be ready and able to take to the track first thing on Friday for the second and final day of the open test.
Full Sebring day 1 times
for the second group available.