Chevrolet IndyCar V6 Paces Combined Practice Friday for Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
ST. PETERSBURG (Fla.) (March 22, 2013) – Will Power, No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, set the pace in the combined results of today’s two practice sessions for the season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg for the IZOD IndyCar Series, turning the fastest lap of the day of 01:01.4467, 105.457 m.p.h.
Joining Power in the top-four fastest of the day were Team Chevy teammates: defending Series’ champion, Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 1 DHL Andretti Autosport Chevrolet; Simona de Silvestro, No. 78 Nuclear Entergy Areva KV Racing Technology Chevrolet and Oriol Servia, No., 22 Mecum Auction Panther Dreyer & Reinbold Chevrolet.
Qualifying will be Saturday at 2:05 p.m. ET with live TV coverage beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network. The race is scheduled to start on Sunday, March 24 at 12:00 (Noon) p.m. ET with live TV coverage of the 110-lap event on NBC Sports Network. The IMS Radio Network brings the action live to fans. Both the radio broadcast and live timing and scoring can be found on www.indycar.com. Radio broadcast can also be heard on XM Radio 211/Sirius Radio 211.
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER QUOTES:
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, FASTEST IN PRACTICE: Q: Your thoughts on the Big 3 teams (Penske, Ganassi, Andretti…)? “Andretti is right on the pace. They’re two drivers: Hinchcliffe and Hunter-Reay are no question going to be right there all year. Ganassi, guess we will see when qualifying comes, I think that’s when everyone knows where everyone stands.”
Q: Track records…”Just the year of development. The engine manufacture got a bit more power and just through the development gets a little more down force and a lot of grip. I think the power needs to climb and the grip can stay the same. The grip going away would be awesome. I would love to actually brake in Milwaukee, that would be a dream for me.”
Q: Good start to the weekend…”This is normal. We expect to be at the front and we are always disappointed if we are back because we have the team to do it. We’re not doing our job if we’re not.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, NO. 1 DHL ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, 2ND IN PRACTICE: “It feels great to be in the first official IndyCar session of the year. It’s still early days; we’ve only done a total of five runs so far between the two sessions. The guys have done a great job in the offseason, the car has a lot of grip in it, but we just need to refine it a bit. We need to make it work for the drivers where they need it. We’re struggling a little bit coming off the corners, so we know there’s lap time there, we know where it is, and we just need to go get it.”
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO, NO. 78 NUCLEAR ENTERGY AREVA KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET, 3RD IN PRACTICE: “It’s a big difference. Last year we came in here and we knew it was going to be a struggle, and this year we come after a really good Barber test and it showed right away. Even this morning I thought we were pretty quick even if we still have a little bit of work to do on the car. It’s definitely a relief to know we can be fast and we can be right up there with the other guys.”
ORIOL SERVIA, NO. 22 MECUM AUCTIONS PANTHER DREYER & REINBOLD RACING CHEVROLET, 4TH IN PRACTICE: “It feels good to have our name up there. It was a legit time; we only used one set of tires. This morning, I thought we were on a good path with the car; we just needed to tweak it and be able to match the track. We just need to keep it up and be fighting for the pole tomorrow and a win on Sunday. It just feels so good to be in the game and know it’s in our reach!”
HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, 6TH IN PRACTICE: “It was a great day for the Hitachi Chevrolet, we were able to find some speed and improve the car from the first session to the second. The Team Penske guys did a great job as always so we feel good for tomorrow and hopefully the weather holds up so that we can keep getting better.”
TONY KANAAN, NO. 11 HYDROXYCUT KV RACING TECHNOLOGY/SH RACING CHEVROLET, 7TH IN PRACTICE: “Man, I couldn’t wait any longer for the season to start. It was so cool to see all the fans coming into the track in the morning, and also all the cars on track. Today it was a good first day for us with both KV cars running up front in the charts. I still want to find a little more grip to be comfortable with the car for Sunday’s race, but I believe that we had a good start for the weekend.”
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, NO. 27 GODADDY.COM ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, 8th IN PRACTICE: “Overall it was a pretty good day for the Go Daddy car. We unloaded with a fairly strong setup, and this morning the track was really great. Everybody was kind of blowing the cobwebs out and getting used to the circuit again. One of the great things about having four cars is that we can try a bunch of different things, and now we get to take the best developments off each of the four cars and put them all together and try to make a strong package for tomorrow.”
MARCO ANDRETTI, NO. 25 RC COLA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, 10TH IN PRACTICE: “I think we are within striking distance, which is all I can ask for on day one. A half second is a lot, but at the same time it’s not. Obviously a half second is ten positions, but a half second is easier to find. I’ve made improvements on myself. The direction and set up that Ryan (Hunter-Reay) has is what we will take for the RC Chevy towards qualifying and into the race on Sunday.”
E.J. VISO, NO. 5 TEAM VENEZUELA PDVSA CITGO HVM ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, 15TH IN PRACTICE: “We had a pretty good morning finishing fourth – it was a good performance for the team. There were three of us in the top four so that’s telling us that we have some good fundamentals in the car. In the second session we tried experimenting with some other changes which we ended with the conclusion that they were not the way to go. So today the plan is to regroup the whole team and start making some decisions for tomorrow based on the experiences that we acquired today during the two practice sessions.”
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, NO. 7 MCAFEE DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET, 18TH IN PRACTICE: “It was a bit of a tough day for us, we are still trying to understand the changes with the Firestone tires. We are not sure where we need to be heading, but we are going to take a close look at the data this evening and see how we can generate more grip.”
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA, NO. 6 TRUECAR DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET, 22ND IN PRACTICE: “We struggled a bit on our first outings today at St. Pete, but we are going to work hard tonight to see what changes we need to make for tomorrow’s final practice before qualifying. We need to focus on finding the right pace for qualifying and the race in tomorrow morning. It’s been an interesting day to see where everyone is finishing in the practice sessions today with the new tires.”
JR HILDEBRAND, NO. 4 NATIONAL GUARD PANTHER RACING CHEVROLET, 23RD IN PRACTICE:
ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S ULTRA PREMIUM VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, 24TH IN PRACTICE: “It was much improved over our first day here last year. We still have a lot of cars in front of us and that is frustrating. But the gap is much tighter this year. We learned a lot today and we made some good changes. Of course, we tried a lot of things and some were good and some bad. But that is what the first day is all about. I think we left some time out on the track in both sessions today. So I think we can get some more out of the car on Saturday. We have a chance to move up the grid for qualifying. It just feels good to be back in the cockpit and back racing again. It has been a long winter.”
POST PRACTICE PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO, RYAN HUNTER-REAY AND WILL POWER met with the media at St. Petersburg following the first practice session and discussed getting on track for the first time this season, what they expect for the rest of the weekend and other topics. Full Transcript:
Q – WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES. HOW WAS YOUR FIRST OFFICIAL PRACTICE WITH KV RACING?
SIMONA DE SILVERSTO: “Yes, a big difference. Last year we came here knew it was going to be a struggle. This year we come here after a real good Barber (Motorsports Park) test and it showed right away. This morning I thought we were pretty quick even though we still had a little bit of work to do on the car. It’s definitely a big relief to know that we can be fast and we can be right up there with these other guys. I really have to thank KV Racing and Team Chevy to give me this opportunity. After a year like I had last year you cannot think of what is going happen next year and to get this opportunity and also with my sponsor, Nuclear Entergy Areva, they stuck with me. Hopefully, we are going to have a really good race so everybody can be proud.”
Q -THIS PLACE HAS BEEN KIND OF SPECIAL FOR YOU SINCE 2011. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT IT IS LIKE TO BE BACK HERE AND WHY IT’S SO IMPORTANT FOR YOU?
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO: “I don’t know why, but it’s definitely where I had my best results before Indy cars. I like this place. It’s the season opener so you get really excited to finally go racing. I think I really like the track I’ve always had a lot of fun here. When you know you have had really good results here I think that really helps because you know you can be fast so you can have a little bit less doubt in you I guess.”
Q – HOW DID IT FEEL TO WORK WITH TK (TONY KANAAN)?
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO: “I think we are still trying to learn how to communicate with each other. I think for me I have never had a teammate. It’s getting better but I feel like we drive a little bit differently so we both need a little bit different things in the car right now. I think we are communicating and it’s getting there. I don’t think our relationship is perfect right now. I think it’s going to take a little bit more time, but it’s really cool to have information going your way. I can ask him some question and he can ask me some questions. I feel like we have a little ways to go to really be perfect.”
Q – HOW DOES IT FEEL TO HAVE A REAL ENGINE?
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO: “It’s unbelievable. I think to be with Chevy they won the championship last year and you know to me just the work ethic they have. Every test we have done so far they always try to accommodate every driver to their driving style and the engineers every session will go out there to try to make it better. That is the biggest thing to be with a manufacturer like that makes it very special.”
Q – WITH COMPETITION SO TIGHT WHAT ARE YOU FOCUSING ON TODAY?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: “It’s certainly great to get a day in here at St. Pete. I always love starting the season off here. It’s early still. The track is rubbering in it’s going to be changing possibly every time we go out on track to try some set-up changes. Rubber is going down and it’s changing. It’s amazing how frequently these tracks change, street circuits. Every car that is out there is making a difference putting rubber down. The car is evolving and we are making changes trying to keep up with it. I think we made some good ones there about half way through the session. But, we’ve got a pretty good gap to close to Will (Power) it’s about two tenths or something. It’s good to go in tomorrow knowing that we are at least somewhere close. The guys have done a great job in the off season.”
Q – TALK ABOUT TODAY’S PRACTICE SESSION:
WILL POWER: “Still fighting the normal things you fight around here handling-wise. A good lap made there early, we weren’t that good on old tires so we’ve got a little bit of work to do. The Honda guys seem a little bit on the back foot, but comfortable as part of the Chevy guys.”
Q – HOW DO YOU THINK IT’S CHANGED WITH THE EXTRA 10 LAPS THIS YEAR?
WILL POWER: “Pit stops will be different, what happens if it’s in the rain, things like that. It will be an interesting race no matter what I’m sure.”
Q – TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT GETTING OFF TO A FAST START THIS SEASON:
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: “Yes, it definitely does feel good. Better than having a bad that is for sure, but it’s still early so it’s nice to go the first day and be up at the sharp end. We have done a lot of work in the off season and we are validating some things today so it’s nice to be there. It’s close though. If you miss just a little bit. If you miss one corner or get one corner wrong you know you are eighth from second. You definitely have to get everything right in the race car and the teams got to get everything right.”
Q – HOW MUCH DO YOU EXPECT TO SEE SIMONA DE SILVESTRO GAIN?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: “Simona is the real deal we have seen that from day one. She is quick very quick; scary quick at a lot of times and that is with a good team and with a great manufacturer like Chevrolet. She has got the horsepower to do it this year. Hopefully, she takes it easy on TK (Tony Kanaan) too. We will see.”
Q – ARE YOU EXPECTING WILL POWER TO BE YOUR PRIMARY THREAT FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY “Will (Power) is always great and we fully expected that. We, from last year, needed to work on some of our consistency early in the weekend, being up there early in the weekend and making the best of it. It’s good where we are, but it’s the usual suspects. It’s the guys you would expect and it’s obviously great to see Simona (de Silvestro) up here with a new team. Will and I, I’m sure it will be a season-long thing.”
Q – ARE YOU EXPECTING RYAN HUNTER-REAY TO BE YOUR PRIMARY THREAT FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP?
WILL POWER “It will be interesting with the competition, I’m sure it will be Ryan (Hunter-Reay), (James) Hinchcliffe. I think that with the championship over the year, it doesn’t come easy in this series. It’s good for the fans, let’s see who can make it to the last race and the last lap and don’t know who’s going to win. That’s IndyCar.”
Q – IS THE BUMP COMING OUT OF THREE HEADING INTO TURN FOUR WORSE THAN LAST YEAR?: WILL POWER: “I don’t really think so, it’s not bad.”
Q – DO YOU THINK INDYCAR NEEDS RIVALRIES AND DO YOU CONSIDER RYAN HUNTER-REAY A RIVAL?
WILL POWER: “I hate him (LAUGHS WITH MEDIA) Why did he have to win a championship? (MORE LAUGHTER). The rivalry is on the track. It’s tough racing. I don’t think you need fighting off the track to be exciting.”
Q -TALK ABOUT QUALIFYING:
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO: “For me, going into qualifying, I’m not nervous about it, but it’s something new again. Last year, every time I went out for qualifying, I would be out like right away. We’ll see how it is. We’ll see how the car is and hopefully we’ll try to do the best. I think starting up front always makes it a little easier. It’s like you’re closer to the front so you’re more able I think to finish up front. Hopefully we’ll be right where these two guys (Ryan Hunter-Reay and Will Power) are and then we should be alright.”
Q – DO YOU BELIEVE THERE ARE ‘NO MORE EXCUSES’ FOR YOU THIS YEAR AND YOU HAVE TO PERFORM?
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO: “Yeah, I think that is true, I have been in the series for three years and felt like we always struggled at something. I think we have something to prove and I think
the series is more competitive. You really have to be on your ‘A’ game every weekend to win a race. I think the tools are here to treat me really good and be real competitive.”
Q – HOW DOES THE CHEVY COMPARE TO THE LOTUS?
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO: “It’s really different. Literally, it felt like I was still driving in another category last year. The first time I went into a Chevy car it was such a difference. The biggest thing is that there are so many more tools. Last year we didn’t even have a yellow map, and now there are more aids that can help you during a run and that’s really helpful.”