• Rookie Colton Herta impresses, heads time sheets for two-day test
  • Alexander Rossi runs second overall; Honda drivers claim eight of the top 10 positions
  • 2019 NTT IndyCar Series opens March 10 in St. Petersburg, Florida 

Second-generation Honda racer Colton Herta started his first full season of NTT IndyCar Series competition on a most impressive note, leading three of the four practice sessions during “Spring Training” activities at the Circuit of the Americas.

Herta led the first three sessions of the two-day test for Harding Steinbrenner Racing, and set the quickest time overall with a 1:46.6258 (115.132 mph average) on Tuesday afternoon.  Fellow Honda driver Alexander Rossi led the fourth and final session, and was the only other driver to break into the 1:46 range in his Andretti Autosport Honda.

A race winner and championship contender in his two years of Indy Lights competition, Herta made his IndyCar Series debut at the Sonoma season finale last year.  His father, veteran racer and team owner Bryan Herta, scored two Indy car victories and was a frequent development driver for Honda in the 1990s.  Herta currently is a co-owner of the #98 Andretti-Herta Autosport Honda raced by Marco Andretti.

After running second-quickest to Herta in this morning’s third practice session, Rossi turned a 1:46.8535 to lead the final test session on Wednesday afternoon.  He was the only driver other than Herta to break into the 1:46s around the hilly, 3.41-mile COTA road course.

Rossi’s Andretti Autosport teammate, Ryan Hunter-Reay, posted the fourth-fastest time of the test at 1:47.1757.  Another impressive rookie, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist, ended the two-day test with the sixth-fastest time, closely followed by Honda drivers Graham Rahal and defending series champion Scott Dixon.  James Hinchcliffe and yet another Honda-powered rookie, Santino Ferrucci, rounded out the top 10.

Social media content and video links from this weekend’s Honda IndyCar Series action at Circuit of the Americas are available on HPD’s Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/HondaRacing_HPD) channels.

The 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season opens on March 10 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Quotes:
Colton Herta (Harding Steinbrenner Racing Honda) led three of the four practice sessions during NTT IndyCar “Spring Training: “Another good day of testing at COTA.  We were quickest this morning and ‘P2’ [second fastest] by a tenth [of a second] this afternoon. And there’s more [speed] to find. We are still working on getting the balance as [temperatures] get colder. When it was warmer, we were really good, so I think we’ll be fine for the race, as it should be warmer then. Overall, the team had a great test, I’m really happy with how everyone is working so hard and putting in so much effort to get everything done. I can’t wait for next month when this #88 Honda hits the Streets of St. Pete.”

Art St. Cyr (Principal, Honda Performance Development) on this week’s open test: “After a long off season, it’s good to finally be back on track.  Although it’s premature to read too much into a single test, having eight to the top 10 times is definitely encouraging.  I think the surprise of this test was the consistent pace demonstrated by Colton [Herta].  It’s a great start for a young team and driver.  The real test will be the first race at St. Petersburg, just three weeks from now.”

NTT IndyCar Series “Spring Training” Pre-Season Test 
Circuit:        Circuit of the Americas (3.41-mile road course) Austin, Texas
Weather:      Mostly clear, cool, 60 degrees F

Indy Car “Spring Training” Top 10 Overall Results:

Ps. Driver       Team Manufacturer Best Time Notes
  1. Colton Herta-R Harding Steinbrenner Racing Honda 1:46.6258 115.132 mph
  2. Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Honda 1:46.8535 +0.2277 seconds
  3. Will Power Team Penske Chevrolet 1:47.1044  
  4. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Honda 1:47.1757  
  5. Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Chevrolet 1:47.2116  
  6. Felix Rosenqvist-R Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 1:47.2941  
  7. Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda 1:47.3662  
  8. Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 1:47.3684  
  9. James Hinchcliffe Arrow Schmidt Peterson  Honda 1:47.5379  
10. Santino Ferrucci-R Dale Coyne Racing                 Honda 1:47.5970  

Other Honda Results 

13. Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda 1:47.7183  
14. Marcus Ericsson Arrow Schmidt Peterson  Honda 1:47.7958  
15. Jack Harvey Meyer Shank Racing Honda 1:47.8892  
17. Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Honda 1:47.9993  
18. Sebastien Bourdais Dale Coyne Racing                 Honda 1:48.0166  
20. Zach Veach Andretti Autosport Honda 1:48.1888  
News Reporter