IndyCar is looking pretty good for the 2019 season, adding COTA and Laguna Seca to the schedule. America’s premier and only top-flight open-wheel racing championship manages to field one of the most competitive and talented pools of drivers, while still managing to be a racing series you may be vaguely familiar with, but don’t bother to actually watch.
Because Texas is nice this time of year, and the teams needed to test Firestone’s prototype tire compounds for next year, A.J. Foyt Racing, Andretti Autosport, and Carlin Racing headed to Austin to set a few laps and gather some data with Tony Kanaan, Alex Rossi, and RC Enerson onboard, respectively.
As you can see from the above video, the test went great. The track is an absolute rip from start to finish in the 2018-spec IndyCars. Tony Kanaan probably had a little more in the tank than what is shown here, but being a test it’s not really worth being on the ragged edge. Alex Rossi set the unofficial time of the event with a 1:47.8 lap, as reported by Racer.com. That’s not quite as fast as the LMP1 lap record at the same track, and about ten seconds slower than Formula One’s best.
Because Formula One really only has five or six cars that can win in a given weekend, and there is such a disparate gap between the front and the backmarkers, I’m inclined to give the edge to IndyCar here. The series saw eight different victors in 2018, and the most recent race at Sonoma featured 16 cars within a second of the pole time.
The cars are pretty good, the drivers are pretty good, and the tracks are pretty good, but the racing is usually frickin’ awesome. Which is why I’m seriously looking forward to the IndyCar race at COTA next March 24th.
Tony Kanaan had this to say of his time at the Circuit of the Americas:
“I didn’t know what to expect, but it’s very fun and very challenging. The blind corners, especially going up the hill (for Turn 1), especially. When you’re watching from the outside, you think, ‘Yeah, it looks steep,’ but from inside the car, it looks steeper.
“Trying to find my way there, it was like, ‘Whoa, where’s the apex?’ After you get used to it, it’s a lot of fun. It’s a braking zone that every time you think you can go quicker, but then when you try harder, it’s too much.”