Three-time Formula One grand prix winner Johnny Herbert turned his first laps at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with his new team yesterday, as he began his preparations for next month's Indy 500.

The #32 Western Union/Duesenberg Brothers Racing Dallara-Chevrolet, entered by Beck Motorsports, did not post any official speeds as Herbert was merely putting it through its paces for the first time, but the Briton reported no problems during the day.

"The main thing was just having a good shakedown with the car," Herbert said, "We went through the normal stuff, and that's working okay at the moment. It's good for the team. It's a great little team to work with. It's got a good little rapport with everybody."

Herbert last raced at the Brickyard when he drove in the inaugural SAP United States Grand Prix on the 2.606-mile road circuit in 2000, but he has also tested an Indy Racing League car on the 2.5mile oval, when he ran with Heritage Motorsports last autumn.

"The only thing that you normally feel as a similarity [to the F1 car] was coming off the last two turns, I suppose, which was really Turn One backwards," he said, "That was really they only time we felt any high speed here. Obviously, we're not travelling near as quick as when you do in an IRL car, but it's just very difficult because it's a completely different kind of driving here."

Herbert turned 28 laps on his first day, and will resume testing today [Wednesday].

In contrast to the IRL rookie, two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk was also running at IMS, and recorded a lap of 226.873mph in his #5 Meijer G-Force-Chevrolet during the private test.

The Dutch veteran, who won in 1990 and 1997 at Indianapolis, completed 61 laps as he continued to prepare for the 86th running of the 500 on 26 May. The test took place in nearly ideal conditions with air temperatures in the mid-to-upper 50's, sunny skies and little wind.

"I felt we were going to be quick just because we had such a good test at [Las] Vegas," Luyendyk said, "With the speeds we ran there, I knew we were going to have a good car here. It took a while to get quite a big push out of the car in the beginning, but once we got it out, we could to 226s all the time."

Luyendyk tested in early February at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and will be test again today [Wednesday] at Indianapolis, as he looks, not only to win his third Indianapolis 500, but also his fourth MBNA Pole at the Brickyard. He won the pole in 1993, '97 and '99.

"I think, if you do a 226.1 or you do a 226.9, it could be a difference of like 10-12 spots on the gird within that 1mph," he stressed, "And that is if you want to. You can also go that route and say, 'OK, I'm going concentrate on race set-up and do that most of the time and see where I qualify'. I don't think qualifying is key to success in the race, but it's always nice to start way up front, because it's just a better place to be."