Andretti, Honda open strongly on Indy 500 opening day


Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway marked the first public opportunity for teams to test out the new manufacturer super speedway aero kits, and at first glance it looks as though Andretti Autosport and Honda were off to a good start.

Granted, it’s very early days yet and teams and drivers won’t be back in the oval kits until next Monday, May 11, but early signs were promising for all five entries.

Marco Andretti set the fastest speed of the day for a Honda, a tow-assisted 226.268 mph lap, in the No. 27 Snapple Honda. But he told the Indianapolis Star‘s Curt Cavin the speeds are essentially “irrelevant,” and expanded on the notion in his official post-practice quote.

“It was interesting; there are still some gremlins to work out,” Andretti said, via a Honda release. “We have an overwhelming laundry list of changes to try. Fortunately, we still have some time to do that.

“I’m pleased with the speed. The only thing I wasn’t pleased with was the balance of the car, but we’ve still got a lot of things to throw at that, and it’s very, very early.”

Elsewhere in the team, Justin Wilson was in for his first running of the year in an IndyCar and found the increased temperatures a bit of a challenge.

“The day started off really good, but as soon as it got a little hotter it got a little difficult and we started to slide around quite a bit,” said the driver of the team’s No. 25 Honda. “All in all I’m quite pleased with the first day, there is still a lot to work on and lots to try and understand with the new aero kits and the new downforce levels. We’re not sure what is a typical baseline for running race run trim or qualifying trim, so we’re just working it all out.”

Simona de Silvestro, who will race for the team in the Indianapolis 500 in the No. 29 TE Connectivity Honda but not this week’s upcoming Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, was learning the car in her first oval track day since October 2013, the season finale for that year at Auto Club Speedway.

“Today was a pretty good first day… I think our speed was okay,” she said. “For me, it was a really good day just being with the team and learning a little bit on the oval. I think we’re all pretty happy with the test day, and for sure we have some work to do, but I think we’ll be okay. I’m just happy to be back in the car here in Indy.”