Nine drivers were at work on Wednesday, testing the aerodynamic package to be used on the new 2012 Dallara IndyCar safety cell at this year's Indianapolis 500.
Marco Andretti set the fastest time at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on a breezy, overcast day with temperatures in the mid-60s (around 18C), with a lap of 41.1664s equivalent to 218.625mph around the 2.5-mile oval.
"I had a mega tow on that lap," admitted Andretti afterwards. "The best I could by myself was 216," he said, adding that it was hardly setting the world on fire but that it was good for a first day.
While below the hoped-for 220-222mph figure that IndyCar had said they were looking for in advance of the test, it nonetheless suggests that the teams are on course to achieving the final target speed of around 225mph next month.
"That last little bit will come as teams dial the cars in to the track during the week of Indy and 225 is the target," said IndyCar's vice president of technology, Will Phillips.
"The configuration we have now is the one we intend to come back with in May," Phillips added. "We need to look at what comes out of today and see if anything further needs to be changed. We'll get some feedback from teams and drivers [about] what the car is like in traffic and what it's like on their own."
"Like anything else you have to develop it, and right now that's what we're doing," said three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves. "It's different, no question about it, because we're so used to the other car."
Tony Kanaan's final best laptime of 41.2014s (218.439mph) was not much better than he managed with an early version of the car and aerokit that ran at IMS last November, but he was still happy that it represented an improvement on the much-criticised initial state of affairs.
"They did a good job with the changes, it's 90 percent better to drive,' said Kanaan. "These cars are wider and there's a lot more turbulence," he added.