Working through a testing program two weeks ago at Sebring International Raceway confirmed to Simona De Silvestro that she and KV Racing Technology teammate Tony Kanaan should follow different paths to potential success.
“In the middle of the season we had to make compromises with both set-ups and I didn’t think that helped either of us. Now we’re going more back to where we were at the beginning of the season and work on what I need in the car and what TK needs in the car,” De Silvestro said. “We did that in Mid-Ohio and it really played out well because we were running top 10 most of the time.”
Click it: Event schedule, tickets || GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma entrant list
Eighteenth in the initial practice session of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio, De Silvestro wound up 10th on the pre-qualifying session time sheet and 10th in the warm-up on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course. She qualified ninth and placed 11th (running as high as sixth in the early stages of the 90-lap race).
De Silvestro kicked off the season by qualifying third and finishing sixth at St. Petersburg, and followed with two top 10s in the next three races. She’s had one – advancing 12 positions to place 10th in Race 1 at Toronto – in the intervening months entering Round 15 at Sonoma Raceway this weekend.
“Definitely pressure is on to have a good end of the season,” she said. “We have to do that for next year and have been working really hard.”
An IZOD IndyCar Series Open Test on Aug. 21 precedes the 85-lap GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma race weekend. The session on the 2.38-mile, 12-turn road course is open to race ticket-holders and spectators who purchase a race ticket at the gate. Fans can watch the test session from open seating areas, stroll the paddock and attend the lunchtime news conference with select drivers in the Wine Country Winner’s Circle.
Live Timing & Scoring is available from 1-8 p.m. (ET) on www.indycar.com. According to an INDYCAR bulletin, teams will be allowed to carry over a set of Firestone Firehawks from the Open Test to the race weekend.
Fifteen drivers, including Lucas Luhr getting his first seat time in an IndyCar, participated in a manufacturer/team test Aug. 13. Luhr, a five-time American Le Mans Series champion, will make his IZOD IndyCar Series debut in the No. 97 RW Motorsports/Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing car.
JR Hildebrand, a native of Sausalito, Calif., returns to the series after a three-month absence in the No. 98 Barracuda Racing car. Also, Ryan Briscoe, who suffered a fractured wrist in Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto in mid-July, returns to the No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing car. Briscoe is the defending race winner.
De Silvestro, who has placed 17th and 13th in her to visits to Sonoma, said the test day is a bonus to dial in the No. 78 Chevrolet-powered car.
“The field is so competitive. A lot of guys already tested so hopefully we can catch up and improve for the weekend,” she said. “Sonoma is tricky for set-up; how I like my car doesn’t really work right there so there are a lot of things I have to adapt to.”