Verizon IndyCar Series veteran Tony Kanaan has driven his first laps as an A.J. Foyt Enterprises driver. The Brazilian took part in his first test in his 2018 #14 Chevrolet at Sebring International Raceway; the first time he has driven the new-look IndyCar.
Kanaan, who has moved from Chip Ganassi Racing to A.J. Foyt Enterprises ahead of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series, had yet to drive the 2018 IndyCar specification; which features the much-anticipated body kit design. The test on Wednesday took place over the course of the day, with Tony turning laps of one of Sebring’s shorter track configurations.
Whilst Kanaan’s initial reactions to the straight-line speed of the 2018 IndyCar are not exactly suitable for publication, Tony went on to explain, in a more eloquent way, how his first run in the car went:
“It was a good day and nice to be back on the track,” said Kanaan following the test last week, “Happy with the progress and that we were able to put some good laps in. Getting the boys back working together as well as getting to know some of the guys I hadn’t worked with yet made it a good day for the ABC No. 14 team.”
“The car is different, it feels a lot quicker on the straightaways which is no surprise. I was happy with the way it came out. It looks really cool; I like the way it looks. You just have to change your driving style a little bit but that was expected as well. It’s hard to tell, I didn’t do a lot of laps to make a solid statement but from what I’ve seen and driven, I’m happy with it.”
Kanaan’s team president, Larry Foyt, was also happy with the first on-track action, saying: “We achieved everything we came down to do. With the little time the crew had to prepare, I was impressed with the build of the car and the amount of test items we were able to get through. Tony liked the car right out of the box, so the engineers did a nice job adapting the setup to the new aero.
Moving with Kanaan from Chip Ganassi Racing to A.J Foyt Enterprises is technical director Eric Cowdin, who is spearheading a “very aggressive development program” to try and lift the team toward the top of the pecking order after a sub-par 2017 season.
“In the four-week period before the Christmas break we will have done four days on the driver simulator, two days of gearbox development, built a car with the new aero kit and tested it on track,” said Cowdin, “In January, we will continue with the same programs with the addition of our first 7-post test of the season to kick off our damper development. Before the first race we will have had six days of track testing so the drivers will have put in their work as well.”
Kanaan’s first race action as an A.J. Foyt racing driver will come in the season-opener for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series, the Grand Prix of St Petersburg on March 11.