Wednesday's feasibility test of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course will see Ryan Briscoe back in an IZOD IndyCar Series car again as he steps into the #4 Panther Racing car to spend the day working alongside Rahal Letterman Lanigan driver Graham Rahal.
"I thought Sonoma would be the last time I would be driving an IndyCar for some time, so to get the invite to be part of this test is really cool," said Briscoe said. "It's always special to drive at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - whether it's on the oval or any other course. I'm really looking forward to it."
The Australian had not been expecting to step into an IndyCar for the remainder of the season as the remaining four rounds of the year clash with his commitments with Level 5 Motorsports in the American Le Mans Series.
Briscoe will drive the Chevrolet-powered #4 National Guard Panther Racing car, while Graham Rahal will pilot the Honda-powered #15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car. Rahal has experience of competing on the IMS road course in Formula BMW and Indy Lights, but it will be the first time on the road course for Briscoe.
The testing session at IMS is being held to gather information about the current options for road course layouts at the iconic venue, as IndyCar considers changes and upgrades. A road course was first added to allow the F1 United States Grand Prix to race at IMS from 2000 to 2007, and since 2008 a modified road course has been used by the MotoGP riders for the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix. The GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series has also been racing at IMS on the road course as part of the Brickyard 400 weekend.
Speedway officials plan to invest nearly $100 million in the facility as part of a long-term master plan that could include modifications to the road course to allow it to accommodate IndyCar testing or even a second race event in the future in addition to the historic 2.5-mile speedway.
"As we look to the future of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the goal is to make changes to the road course that provide the most flexibility for its potential use and create a layout that is entertaining for our fans and enjoyable for our drivers, whether it is for IndyCar testing or racing, sports cars, MotoGP or other uses," said IMS president J Douglas Boles.
Drivers will utilise turn 1 of the oval and the existing turn 1 of the road course. The session will be open to the public, with spectators able to watch the on-track activity from the South Terrace grandstand and turn 2 viewing mounds.
The only other time an IndyCar has been tested on the IMS road course was in the autumn of 2011 when two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon ran the 13-corner layout in a clockwise direction. However, that test was to facilitate the development of the new Dallara chassis introduced at the start of the following season, rather than to gather about the track.