They are basically worlds apart, but they’re racing on the same track this weekend.
The 2017 Detroit Grand Prix weekend was swept by Rahal Letterman Lannigan driver Graham Rahal – and he’s already performing well in practice sessions for this weekend’s events.
But the surprise addition to practice’s top ten Friday was American driver Santino Ferrucci. Almost ten years younger than Rahal, Ferrucci seems more relaxed going into the doubleheader weekend on the streets of Detroit. Even though he noted that piloting an IndyCar was something completely new to him, he said he felt “relaxed” here on home soil.
With a bigger team of engineers and mechanics, Ferrucci is eager to show his potential as a driver.
“Stint time is limited in Europe,” said Ferrucci in a post-practice press conference. “And we don’t have rough tracks in Europe.”
Coming from the smooth streets of Baku and Monaco, the bumpy streets of Belle Isle can be a shock.
“It caught me off guard,” said the Dayle Coyne driver. Ferrucci logged the most laps out of all the drivers in today’s morning practice. Despite being new to both the track and the series, Ferrucci was much more relaxed than Rahal’s attitude at his post-practice press conference.
“We’ve got to be the guy who puts the fastest lap in,” said Rahal, who mentioned he was a fan of the “Champ Car way” of qualifying.
“Throw us out there for thirty minutes,” said Rahal. “Follow the blocking rules and we’d be all set.”
The Detroit doubleheader has a unique qualifying format. The field is divided into two groups based on practice times, with 12 minutes allotted for each group. Five minutes under a green flag is guaranteed. One driver point and one team championship point are awarded to the fastest car in each qualifying group on both days. Race One qualifying is at 10:55 a.m. EST on Saturday, with Race Two qualifying Sunday morning at 10:45.
Rahal’s determination to have another sweep at Detroit comes through in his confidence.
“If I tell you I have a good race car, you know I have a good race car.”
Rahal was third in Friday morning’s practice session. Ferrucci was sixth.