Driver line-up set for IndyCar Open Test at COTA

3 Mins read
Credit: Stephen King / Courtesy of IndyCar

The official two-day pre-season test for the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series will kick-off tomorrow – Tuesday, February 11 – at the Circuit of the Americas, with twenty-seven drivers scheduled to take to the track in twenty-five different cars.

The test at COTA will be the first time that a vast majority of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series competitors will have taken to the track this year; which also means that, for some, this will be the first time that they have driven using the new-for-2020 Aeroscreen fitted to their cars.

As such, much of the test will be spent getting acclimatized to racing with the new cockpit protection system, whilst also getting back up to speed ahead of the season-opening race next month.

Josef Newgarden will be entering the test as the defending series champion. Because of this, he will carry the #1 on his Team Penske Chevrolet for the test and for the rest of the season. During the two-day test, he will be joined by three fellow Penske drivers. His two full-time team-mates, Will Power and Simon Pagenaud, will also be accompanied by Virgin Australia Supercars Champion, Scott McLaughlin. The New Zealander will drive an IndyCar for only the second time ever during the test, with McLaughlin preparing to make his NTT IndyCar series race debut at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis in May.

Andretti Autosport will bring an unchanged driver line-up to the test, with Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Zach Veach driving the team’s primary entries. Marco Andretti will, once again, be behind the wheel of the #98 Andretti Herta Honda. The test will also mark the first time that Colton Herta races for the newly affiliated Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport team in the #88 Honda, with Meyer Shank Racing‘s Jack Harvey also taking part in a Honda with a technical affiliation with Andretti.

The third of the so-called ‘big-three’ IndyCar teams, Chip Ganassi Racing, enter the test and 2020 with an expanded line-up, with Marcus Ericsson joining the team in the #8 car alongside Scott Dixon and the 2019 rookie of the year, Felix Rosenqvist.

Arrow McLaren SP will take to the track with their line-up of Patricio O’Ward and Oliver Askew, with McLaren hoping to get off to a good start on their return to IndyCar after partnering with Arrow Schmidt Peterson.

Dale Coyne Racing‘s altered line-up will see Santino Ferrucci behind the wheel of the #18 car for the first time in tomorrow’s opening day of testing. His rookie team-mate, Alex Palou, will be joining him in the sister #55 Honda fielded by DCR with Team Goh. Palou will be hoping to get up to speed early and get used to how the IndyCar handles compared to his previous surroundings in Super Formula.

Credit: Joe Skibinski / Courtesy of IndyCar

A.J. Foyt Racing will have a trio of drivers who will be getting used to new surroundings this week. Charlie Kimball moves to the team from Carlin and will pilot the #4 car, with the sister #14 Chevrolet being shared during the two-day test by Sebastien Bourdais – previously at Dale Coyne – and rookie Dalton Kellett; who makes the step up to IndyCar from Indy Lights.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing will take to the test and the season with a totally unchanged line-up of Graham Rahal in the #15 Honda and Takuma Sato in the #30. On the flipside, Ed Carpenter Racing will field two new drivers in their two cars, with Conor Daly taking the wheel of the #20 Chevrolet and Dutch rookie, Rinus VeeKay, driving the #21.

The final team taking part in the test and the team that were the latest to finalize their line-up for the week are Carlin. The British team, entering their third season of IndyCar racing, will have Max Chilton behind the wheel again of the #59 Chevrolet.

However, the #31 car will be shared between two drivers; neither of which have signed to race at any point during the upcoming season as of yet. Former Carlin Formula 2 drivers – Felipe Nasr and Sergio Sette Camara – will take the wheel of the #31 Carlin during the two-day test, with both Brazilian drivers on the shortlist to race for the team at some point this season.

As it stands, Nasr would be unable to contest the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series full-time due to his prior commitments in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with Whelan Racing Engineering. This could, potentially, open the door for Nasr to share the seat with Sette Camara, with Sergio taking the wheel at the races Nasr is absent for.

Two teams that are set to race multiple times during the season will not be attending the COTA Open Test. DragonSpeed is scheduled to contest six races during the season but will not be in action over the next two days. Similarly, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing are set to return to part-time IndyCar competition after having only contested the Indianapolis 500 during the last few years. However, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing will not be in action in Texas this week.

The two-day test will kick-off tomorrow, Tuesday, February 11 and will conclude on Wednesday, February 12. The morning and afternoon sessions of both days of testing will be streamed live at and on the IndyCar Mobile App.

The 2020 NTT IndyCar Series will kick-off with the season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday, March 15.

2020 NTT IndyCar Series – COTA Open Test – Driver line-up:

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Reporter from the East of England. Covering the NTT IndyCar Series for The Checkered Flag. Also an eSports racing driver on iRacing.
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