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Final IndyCar Series test of 2013 underway at Sebring

Eleven drivers from seven teams are getting a jump on the 2014 IndyCar Series season with a two-day test at Sebring this week.

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, Andretti Autosport, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, AJ Foyt Racing, Dale Coyne Racing and Ed Carpenter Racing all returned to end-of-sesson testing at Sebring this week, in order to continue their preparations for next season.

"It's nice to get a couple days [of testing in], keep everyone flowing well and get the guys back out here working together," said Josef Newgarden, who enters his third season with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, "I think it keeps everyone on their toes throughout the off-season.

"I think there's a chance to get a little out of rhythm if you're off the track for too long. Even for me as a driver, it's great to be back behind the wheel for a couple of days. It keeps you fresh and keeps your brain thinking over the holidays."

Several of the Honda teams spent their time developing the twin-turbocharged engines that the manufacturer will use in 2014. Andretti Autosport driver James Hinchcliffe got his first taste of a Honda-powered car since the team announced it would be switching to the supplier for the 2014 season. In fact, the outing was his first in an IndyCar since the series finale at Auto Club Speedway in mid-October.

“It seems like Fontana was forever ago," Hinchcliffe said, "To get to run in the car is great and especially to get a first taste of the Honda power. It's an exciting new chapter for us, getting to work with [the Honda Performance Development] guys and building some new relationships and learning as much as we can about this new engine."

Also testing throughout the day was series newcomer Mikhail Aleshin, who took the wheel of the #55 SMP Racing entry. The 26-year old Russian ran many laps alongside team-mate Simon Pagenaud in the #77 car.

"It's very important through the winter season to be able to use the test days to experience things we wouldn't do during the race weekend," Pagenaud explained, "There are a lot of items, a lot of experimental things we want to try and hopefully understand what direction they could take us and apply it to the race car in the future."

Takuma Sato tested his AJ Foyt Racing car one day after the announcement that he would return to the team for the 2014 season, while 2012 Pro Mazda champion and 2013 Indy Lights race winner Jack Hawksworth participated in his second IndyCar test, this time with Dale Coyne Racing.

"To me, it's almost like the beginning of 2014 preparations,” Sato noted, “It's good to be back in the car. After Fontana, it's really a long break. I had a lot of events back in Japan, but it's nice to be back in the IndyCar. Today, for me and for AJ Foyt Racing, it's our first day with the new Honda twin turbo engine. I've only done a few laps with it in the morning, but I had a good, positive taste of it. Hopefully, this afternoon we can get more miles on it and get prepared for 2014."

Mike Conway, who will compete with Ed Carpenter Racing on road and street courses next season, tested the #20 Fuzzy's Vodka entry, with team owner/driver Ed Carpenter in attendance as well.



Related Pictures

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Takuma Sato ready for action in Toronto - Friday, July 12 2013. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Josef Newgarden in pit lane on Carb Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Friday May 22 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
James Davison on track on Carb Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Friday May 22 2015. (Photo by: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
James Hinchcliffe at IMS (Photo by: Walter Kuhn)
James Hinchcliffe during practice prior to Qualifying for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race (Photo by: Leigh Spargur)
James Hinchcliffe at IMS (Photo by: Mike Harding)
James Hinchcliffe at IMS (Photo by: Jim Haines)
Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies third fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, and will start on the outside of the front row for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Pagenaud will be joined in the front row by by polestar Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet who qualified second fastest for the May 24 race. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies second-fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, and will start in the middle of the front row for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Power will be joined in the front row by pole sitter Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet  who qualified third for the May 24 race. (Photo by Scott R. LePage/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates after qualifying fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, winning the pole for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Dixon will be joined in the front row by Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet who qualified second fastest, and Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet  who qualified third for the May 24 race. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, winning the pole for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Dixon will be joined in the front row by Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet who qualified second fastest, and Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet  who qualified third for the May 24 race. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Josef Newgarden exits his pit box at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during practice on Friday May 15 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Takuma Sato at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during practice on Friday May 15 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud on track in the Penske #22 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during practice on Friday May 15 2015. (Photo by: Mike Harding for IndyCar Media)

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