Indianapolis, Ind. (8 May 2015) – Racing with a new team and getting his first laps behind the wheel of the new Honda aero kit-equipped Verizon IndyCar this weekend, Justin Wilson had a sizable list of things to get used to as he joined Andretti Autosport for the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis. But the likable and popular pilot was a quick study in the opening two days of action at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as he made the most of his laps in preparation for Saturday’s race (ABC live broadcast, 3:30 PM ET) on the 2.439-mile infield road circuit.
Working with his engineer Blair Perschbacher and with Andretti Autosport director of race operations Rob Edwards overseeing the effort, Wilson got his first taste of the Honda aero kit in Thursday’s two practice sessions.
Generating 57 laps of data to think about overnight, Wilson was right in the thick of things on Friday despite not having been behind the wheel of an IndyCar in road course trim since 2014.
Returning to another chamber of commerce day for practice and qualifying, Wilson was hoping to once again gather as many lessons as he could with the new car as well as help support the four-car Andretti Autosport effort through the road course weekend.
A first qualifying run on Firestone ‘black’ tires didn’t elicit the hoped for times, so Wilson was back into the pits as the Andretti Autosport squad quickly switched him to the ‘red’ Firestones to get him back out for the closing segments of the session. Wilson was able to extract his best lap of the weekend with a quick time of 1:10.5776-seconds, but the time fell just over a tenth out of range for a shot in the fast 12.
Wilson netted the fastest time among the Andretti Autosport runners, but had been targeting more progress towards the Fast Six in qualifying. However the weekend to date has still produced a lot of progress as he hopes to continue that trend in Saturday’s race.
“We went out on black tires for the first run and I felt so loose, I thought we over shot this run, but we seem to be on one side of the balance and can’t seem to find that sweet spot right in the middle,” said Wilson. “When we put the Firestone red tires on the car, it brought the balance to life and we actually started to roll some speed into the corners and we started to get some grip. It was good, I just wish we could be a fraction quicker. We’re pushing, we’re trying hard and we have been behind all weekend, but we’re trying to catch up. I’ve been really happy with our tire life, so I’m hoping that is going to continue into race day and play in our favor so we’ll have a good consistent car.”
Wilson will lead the Andretti Autosport charge on Saturday with his grid position on the inside of Row 9 alongside Graham Rahal for the 82-lap feature race on Saturday.
No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda-Dallara
Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis
May 7-9, 2015
Practice 1 BL 1:11.9104 (P18) 27 laps
Practice 2 BL 1:11.7470 (P19) 29 laps
Practice 3 BL 1:11.8104 (P23) 21 laps
Qualifying BL 1:10.5776 (P18)