Dixon expecting stronger Indy 500 outing after Honda switch

Scott Dixon is hoping for a stronger Indy 500 in 2017 - Credit: Joe Skibinski / IndyCar

Scott Dixon believes his Chip Ganassi Racing outfit will have a better chance of taking victory in the Indianapolis 500 in 2017 after the team switched from Chevrolet to Honda power over the off-season.

The New Zealander, who is a four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion and the 2008 Indy 500 winner, insists Ganassi’s main aims are the championship and victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and after finishing eighth in 2016 with Chevrolet, Dixon believes with Honda a return to winning ways could be on the cards.

“I’d like to think that, outside of last year, we always have a pretty good shot at Indy,” said Dixon on Motorsport.com. “But I think Hondas were very, very strong at Pocono and the Indy 500. I’m sure that came into thoughts of making the decision for [Ganassi’s] switch.

“There’s two things that we set goals for, and that’s to win the championship and win the Indianapolis 500.”

Dixon does admit that whereas the Honda package looks strong on the bigger ovals on the calendar such as Indianapolis and Pocono, there are worries that the package is not as strong when it comes to road and street courses, and learning how to get the best out of what they have may take time.

“Maybe the tracks that we have coming up first are going to be sort of eye-openers,” said Dixon. “Street courses and maybe some short ovals – they could be our tougher ones.

“If you look at statistics and the data that you have every weekend at these tracks, and segment times, you know exactly where the deficits are. It’s not like we went into something not knowing the areas we need to improve, but I think through the winter we’ve found some good gains.

“Whether it’s enough at some places, we know where the weaknesses are… You always think you know a bit about the competition, but then when reality strikes, there are areas that you maybe didn’t understand as well.”