SEBRING, Fla. -- Simona de Silvestro introduced Tony Kanaan to individuals associated with a sponsor as "my new teammate." Soon she'll drop the "new."
De Silvestro, who competed the previous three IZOD IndyCar Series seasons with HVM Racing, joined KV Racing Technology and Kanaan in late October for the 2013 season. They've tested the Nos. 11 and 78 cars at Barber Motorsports Park and Texas Motor Speedway in advance of closing out the year at Sebring International Raceway this week.
"It's been going pretty well," said de Silvestro, whose new livery will be unveiled in January. "The Barber test was a little strange because it was added at the last minute, but it was a really productive day and we both ended up quick and worked through some things with the cars. The Texas test was a Chevy test so we went through a whole program with them. Working with TK has been a lot of fun.
"I think we're still learning how to work together because I've never had a teammate in IndyCars and that's all new to me. Having someone right there in the seat at the same time, giving feedback and listening to what he thinks -- especially on the ovals -- is great. I hope to learn a lot as we develop this team, which has been working really hard. The Barber and Texas tests I was learning a lot of things, like the guys' names, and now we're starting to click. This test is important to jump-start the (2013) season."
Kanaan, who will enter his third season with KV Racing Technology, said he's enjoyed the camaraderie with the crews through the three test sessions and looks forward to a productive 2013 season.
"We're still getting to know each other, but she's a very easy-going person so I don't see any problems," he said. "Everything is new to her. She's fast and finally now she's got to a team where she has the potential to show her talent."
This past weekend, Kanaan joined Helio Castroneves and Rubens Barrichello in competing in the final round of the Brazilian stock car series. He also drove in the penultimate race last month.
"It was a good experience to race in front of the (Brazilian) fans again at Interlagos, a place where I grew up," he said.
To Race of Champions by way of London
Reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay got in some laps in the No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda car for Andretti Autosport before departing for the Race of Champions this weekend in Bangkok, Thailand.
His route: Helicopter from Sebring to Miami International Airport, catch a flight to London followed by a leg to Bangkok. "It's a long day," he said.
On the track
Drivers got on the 1.65-mile circuit in earnest about 1 p.m. after the racing surfaced dried from an overnight thunderstorm and morning sprinkles. They got in two hours of track time before the skies opened up again.
Twelve drivers are expected to participate in the final day of testing for the year Dec. 13, including former Star Mazda champion and Firestone Indy Lights winner Conor Daly in the No. 14 ABC Supply car for A.J. Foyt Racing and 2012 Firestone Indy Lights champion Tristan Vautier in the No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports car.
Vautier's proud father, Eric (at left), is in town to watch the proceedings. Regular driver Simon Pagenaud was in the car Dec. 12 and will be available for instruction during Vautier's track time.
Justin Wilson was in the No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing car. He said he's not signed for the 2013 season yet.
Schmidt welcomes partner for both teams
Ric Peterson, founder and CEO of Oculus Transport, has joined the Firestone Indy Lights and IZOD IndyCar Series programs of Sam Schmidt as a co-owner.
The Calgary, Alberta, resident is a former open-wheel racing and stock car driver who says he's sought to be involved as an owner since retiring from the cockpit.
"Having Ric onboard as a partner will help us continue our growth and expansion in the sport. His background as a racer and his success in business make him an invaluable partner," Schmidt said.
Team Penske and Andretti Autosport have booked Sebring for a test Jan. 14, 2013. ... New NBC Sports Channel announcer Leigh Diffey is making the rounds at the track to meet/re-introduce himself to drivers and team members. ... Will Power has a wedding to attend in January in Australia as his older brother, Nick, is engaged. Power and his wife Elizabeth celebrate their second wedding anniversary Dec. 17. ... Helio Castroneves will be a guest on "The Jeff Probst Show" on Dec. 17. Check local listings.