12 February 2015
IndyCar: Coletti impresses in KV Racing test
GP2 Series veteran Stefano Coletti won rave reviews from KV Racing Technology with his two-day test with the team at NOLA Motorports Park.
KV Racing Technology were quick to praise the performance of 25-year-old Monegasque driver Stefano Coletti after he spent two days testing with the team at the new 2.67-mile, 13-turn NOLA Motorsports Park in Louisiana this week.
"Everyone at KV Racing Technology was impressed with Stefano," said the team's general manager Steve Moore. "He is professional, dedicated and very intelligent."
Coletti has had only one previous day's experience in an IndyCar, when he spent time with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports at Sebring International Raceway last December, but Moore said that this hadn't held back the GP2 veteran at NOLA.
"Despite his lack of experience in the car, Stefano has a great grasp of what makes a race car fast," said Moore. "We found his technological knowledge and feedback to be exceptional, not to mention he is very personable and articulate."
Coletti ended his first day with the team fifth on the speed charts out of the eight Chevrolet powered drivers, with a time of 79.41 seconds, while on the second day of the test he was second in today's morning session with a best lap time of 78.85 seconds putting him just a tenth and half slower than veteran and 1999 IndyCar champion Juan Pablo Montoya.
“I'm very happy about these two days testing,” said Coletti, who is looking for a new challenge after spending four seasons in F1's official feeder series. "I was consistently improving and working really well with my engineers, particularly Matt Curry.
"The collaboration with everyone at KV Racing Technology was great and they all made me feel at home," he added. "I had a lot of fun pushing this car and really enjoyed the NOLA track. Working with such an experienced and quick driver as Sebastien Bourdais was very useful and we were able to push each other to the top."
Whether his performance puts him in pole position for a race seat in the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship remains to be seen, but Coletti is certainly hoping that it will: "I love challenges and a job in IndyCar this year would be amazing."
A press release from KV admitted that the team was in talks with Coletti over the race seat, but that no decision had yet been taken about who would be in the #4 for the next session later this month back at Sebring.
Meanwhile KV's lead driver Sebastien Bourdais has been confirmed for the full 2015 season in the #11 car, and the 35-year-old Frenchman was also in action this week at NOLA.
"It was our first test in more than five months and it was good to get back in the car and work with the guys," said Bourdais, who won four Champ Car World Series titles from 2004 to 2007 before a short-lived stint in F1 with Toro Rosso.
Bourdais ran 68 laps the first day of testing and recorded the third fastest lap of the eight Chevrolet powered drivers in attendance with a time of 79.16 seconds. He logged another 75 laps on the second day and recorded a fast time of 78.76 seconds.
"We had a problem this morning, but we still managed to get through most of our program," he said. As for the NOLA track - which will be a new venue in this year's championship - Bourdais gave it two thumbs up. "It's always exciting to discover new places. The track is challenging and fun. It has everything between slow-speed, medium and high-speed corners, so it's a good mix."
None of the drivers at work this week were able to use the new bespoke aero kit components which will be introduced for the first time this season, and Bourdais admitted that this would make a big difference when they finally become available.
"Obviously, since we are not allowed to test the new aero kit until March 13, it will be different when we race here in April, but overall the guys did a good job and I am happy with the way things went.
"I think the new aero kits will dramatically change the appearance of the car and quite possibly the handling because the aero map is going to be all different," he added. "It's going to be an interesting thing to go through and prepare for this racetrack."
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