The IndyCar series returns to Barber Motorsports Park outside Birmingham, Alabama this weekend for open testing. Previous to this, IndyCar conducted a suitability test in October of 2008 with seven drivers. Saturday will see the Indy Lights take to the track from 9am to 5pm, with the big cars running on Sunday and Monday from 9am – 5pm as well. Live timing and scoring will be available on IndyCar’s website.
Those who attended the test in 2007 loved driving on the hilly, wide open road course. The beautiful park like setting with metal sculptures is an idyllic setting for motor racing. Barber is heavily advertising for this open test as they are trying very hard to be included on the IndyCar race schedule for 2010, and I personally can’t wait to do spring break in Birmingham next year. This weekend is not only a full field suitability test, but also a likely date for inclusion on next years calendar.
There is an excellent video from 2007 up in our videos section on the main page, but also, IndyCar.com just put up a preview video for the open test on their site. Check them out.
As for the participants, here is the list.
- Target Chip Ganassi – Scott Dixon & Dario Franchiti
- Penske – Ryan Briscoe & Will Power
- Andretti Green – Tony Kanaan, Danica Patrick, Marco Andretti, Hideki Mutoh
- Newman Haas Lanigan – Graham Rahal, Robert Doornbos, Milka Duno
- KV – Mario Moraes
- Panther – Dan Wheldon
- Luczo Dragon – Raphael Matos
- Coyne – Justin Wilson
- Vision – Ed Carpenter
- Dreyer & Reinbold – Mike Conway
For a grand total of 18 participants in the test.
Team 3G (Stanton Barret), AJ Foyt Racing (Vitor Meira) , Conquest (TBD) and HVM (EJ Viso and likely Ryan Hunter-Reay) have all opted to skip this open test for various reasons.
HVM is reportedly close to signing Ryan Hunter-Reay to go along with EJ Viso, but has opted to test elsewhere for two reasons. One, they wanted to prepare a second car for Ryan, instead of sharing a car with Viso. And two, they feel that they will get better data from a course like MSR Houston for the upcoming street races at St. Petersburg and Long Beach.
AJ Foyt is likely planning on teaming up with HVM for a test date closer to their home base in Texas.
There is no word why Team 3G is skipping the test, especially since Stanton Barret needs as much time as possible in the car before he gets out on track in a race. He was way off pace at homestead. Despite his experience in nascar and Hollywood stunt driving, he may be this years Marty Roth.
Conquest is yet to name their driver or drivers for 2009. Jaime Camarra drove for them at the Homestead test, but Alex Taglianni is also on the list as potential. Here is hoping for a 2 car team!