Sebastien Bourdais added his name to the lists of "firsts" at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway by topping the lap time chart in the initial practice session for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
One second separated the top 16 Verizon IndyCar Series cars on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course. Bourdais, driving the No. 11 Mistic KVSH Racing car,posted a lap of 1 minute, 10.5150 seconds. Ryan Hunter-Reay, who won the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on April 27, was second quick (1:10.9053) in the No. 28 DHL car for Andretti Autosport.
Simon Pagenaud was third, followed by Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon -- representing five different teams in the top five.
Click it: Practice 1 results || Entry list
"We had a good test on the new road course last Wednesday," Bourdais said. "We made a lot of progress and learned some things. The new asphalt that was laid down is very, very grippy and actually a lot of fun. It's a challenging racetrack. You have to commit to it and the grip level, so you can challenge yourself in the car. The last section is very enjoyable. The left, right, left and right again, that's opened up a lot more than it used to be, and they are all third-gear corners. The car digs in and goes side to side as you're working the tires and pushing yourself. It's quite fun and I see some passing areas."
The four-time Champ Car champion, who has 31 career victories, won on the Speedway road course in 2012, co-driving a Prototype in a Grand-Am Series race. Though he's been quick in the three Verizon IndyCar Series road/street course events this season -- qualifying third at Long Beach and 12th at Barber Motorsports Park -- he hasn't scored a top-10 finish.
A second 45-minute session is scheduled for 2 p.m. (ET). Scheduled for May 9 is practice at 10 a.m. and the three rounds of qualifications to determine the Verizon P1 Award winner and set the first three rows at 2 p.m. The race, which will feature a standing start on the Speedway's oval frontstretch, will start at 3:50 p.m. May 10.
Winners of major inaugural races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Ray Harroun (1911 Indianapolis 500), Jeff Gordon (1994 NASCAR Sprint Cup race), Michael Schumacher (2000 Formula One race), Valentino Rossi (2008 MotoGP race), Bourdais (2012 Grand-Am race).
The first motorsport event at the Speedway was a motorcycle race on Aug. 14, 1909, on the 2.5 mile oval.
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