The testing provision for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season include a two-day promoter test at Phoenix International Raceway in preparation for the series' return to the historic one-mile oval.
Scheduled for 26-27 February, five weeks in advance of the Phoenix Grand Prix on 2 April, the test will mark the first IndyCar event in eleven years at PIR, which hosted 61 Indy car races from 1964-2005.
In all, IndyCar has scheduled eight promoter test days in 2016, open to all entrants and mandatory for Leaders Circle members. Promoter test days do not count against the usual eight-day team test allotment. The Phoenix test is the only one not being run in conjunction with a typical race weekend schedule, with the others scheduled for St Petersburg (11 March), Barber Motorsports Park (22 April), Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course (12 May), Road America (24 June), Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (29 July) and Sonoma Raceway (16 September).
IndyCar has also scheduled an aero kit safety test for 6 April on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. All full-season entrants are permitted to participate in the test, which will be used by IndyCar to determine approval of aero kit components for the Indianapolis 500.
Under the regulations, which went into effect on 31 August and remain through the final race of the 2016 season, each team is permitted a total of eight team test and/or full-size wind tunnel test days. Teams that also field a full-season entry in Indy Lights will now be granted an extra team test day once the Indy Lights entry has participated in five 2016 races. Verizon IndyCar Series teams will continue to receive an extra test day if seat time is divided between a Verizon IndyCar Series driver and Indy Lights driver. Verizon IndyCar Series teams with rookie drivers are allocated two additional team test days for the rookie driver, while new teams are granted four additional team test days.
Testing is not permitted between 25-30 November, 21 December-3 January and 9-30 May, while teams may not conduct any on-track testing within seven days prior to the start of any on-track activity at a race location.
"These regulations balance diverse interests in our paddock while containing costs and fostering great competition," explained Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, the parent of IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, "We are really looking forward to our first promoter test next spring in Phoenix as a great opportunity to showcase the return of PIR to the Verizon IndyCar Series.
"The testing regulations provide teams the opportunity to earn additional test days for competing in Indy Lights and by testing a driver who is a current competitor in Indy Lights. This year, the shared test day rule provided several Indy Lights drivers the opportunity to test a Verizon IndyCar Series car at Sonoma Raceway, which we felt was instrumental in the continued development of these young drivers and the overall growth of the ladder series."