Reigning Indianapolis 500 Mile Race champion Tony Kanaan and three-time 500 Mile Race winner Dario Franchitti are among six IZOD IndyCar Series drivers who will participate in a Firestone Racing tire test Sept. 10-11 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.
The 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) sessions are free and open to the public to watch from the South Terrace Grandstand and Turn 2 viewer mounds. Sept. 12 is a designated rain date. Post photos on Twitter (@FirestoneRacing) using #TireTest.
Joining Kanaan and Franchitti on the 2.5-mile oval will be:
• Simon Pagenaud (No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports), who added to his victory at Belle Isle a week after the Indy 500 with a win Sept. 1 on the streets of Baltimore. He is third in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship standings with three races left.
• Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske), who won his first race of the season Aug. 25 at Sonoma Raceway. Power has been the IZOD IndyCar Series championship runner-up the past three seasons.
• Justin Wilson (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing), who followed up his runner-up finish at Sonoma with a fourth-place finish at Baltimore. Fifth place in May was Wilson’s best Indy 500 finish.
• Marco Andretti (No. 25 Andretti Autosport), a multiple race winner who started on the front row for the Indy 500 in May.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Wilson said. “It’s always fun to have new tires every time out. Hopefully we’ll give some good feedback to help Firestone and have a strong test. Every lap you learn something, so it’s never too early to start preparing for next year.”
Firestone Racing periodically conducts testing of current and development tire compounds and specifications on the 2.5-mile oval for future superspeedway events. The cars’ Speedway aerodynamic configuration will be used, and some participants will be in qualifications trim while others will be in race trim for longer runs.
“It’s more a sense of continuous improvement, which is something that Firestone has been based on,” Firestone Racing chief engineer Dale Harrigle said. “Tire performance was good this May and we think we can make it a little better.”
The 97th Running of the Indianapolis 500 featured a race-record 68 lead changes. Kanaan, who last week at Baltimore surpassed KV Racing Technology co-owner Jimmy Vasser’s record for consecutive Indy car starts with his 212th, earned his first “500” victory in 12 attempts after starting 12th in the Chevrolet-powered No. 11 Hydroxycut KV Racing Technology-SH Racing car.
“We started working on the ‘500’ in September of last year with a lot of things that we’ve done, not just in the shop, with the race car and everything,” said Kanaan, who led 15 times for a total of 34 of the 200 laps. “Obviously, it paid off.”
The 98th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for May 25, 2014.