5 December 2013
Kanaan starts work at Ganassi
Tony Kanaan spent his first day of track work with Chip Ganassi Racing on Wednesday, as the team undertook a day of testing at Sebring International Raceway.
2013 Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan was back at work in a race car this week, but one bearing different team colours from any he's driven before as he finally got his first opportunity to spend time on track with Chip Ganassi Racing.
"It's my first day on the job so it's still a little weird," said Kanaan. "I'm excited, obviously. It's a new challenge for me. I have a lot of things to learn as far as the way they runs things here. I'm just enjoying it."
Kanaan announced in October that he was joining the team, after spending three years at KV Racing Technology, run by his old friend Jimmy Vasser. Not only was it the opportunity to race with one of the top two teams in IndyCar, Kanaan was also keen to be reunited with another of his best friends in motorsport, Dario Franchitti; however the Scot has since been forced to announce his retirement from the sport after a serious crash at Houston.
"It's a team that, they've been together for a long time and they've been very successful, so I'm actually trying to listen more than I'm talking," said Kanaan. "I have some things that I think I can add to it, and I'm doing whatever I can to send the message across ... If I can bring something extra, to improve what they have already, it's great. So that's what I'm trying to do."
For the last two years Kanaan has been with a team that's been using Chevrolet engines, while Ganassi was the lead Honda partner. However the team is switching to Chevy power for 2014, and that means having someone with Kanaan's experience of the new engines is particularly useful and timely as well as making the transition between teams smoother for the Brazilian.
"It's a good thing that Tony's already driven a Chevrolet car because he doesn't need to concentrate on the differences between that and a Honda product," agreed Mike Hull, the managing director of Target Chip Ganassi Racing. "He can just concentrate on what we do as a team with the chassis.
"It's kind of an interesting comparison, or dynamic, of what we have going on today because we have the Honda history, which has been a really special time in our lives at Chip Ganassi Racing for many, many years, we have that going on, but with Tony we also have a fresh perspective on where Chip Ganassi stands in terms of how it creates an on-track product by comparison to where he's been in the past," Hull added. "So it's a big day for all of us here in terms of understanding how to make our product better."
Also working at the 1.65-mile road course in Florida were Kanaan's new team mates for 2014, Charlie Kimball and this year's IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon. Alex Tagliani was also present at the test in the #10 Target-sponsored car formerly piloted by Dario Franchitti.
"Today is more comparison stuff," said Dixon of his own focus for the day. "Go over some of the late development things we had streaming through for the season, and obviously, the big compare between Chevy and Honda and see where we need to work and see what area are good.
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