The fourth session of IndyCar preseason testing took place Saturday afternoon at ISM Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. The three-hour test was led by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Takuma Sato, who posted a best one-lap speed of 189.728 MPH.
Similar to the results from the two Friday test sessions, Honda and Chevrolet had a 3-2 split among the top-five on the time charts. It is important to note, though, that Honda held six of the top ten positions
Team Penske’s Will Power was the fastest among the Chevrolet-powered machines, slotting in second at 189.276 MPH, the only driver aside from Sato to eclipse the 189 MPH mark.
Rounding out the top five was Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Simon Pagenaud.
The fastest of the 2018 rookies was A.J. Foyt Racing’s Matheus Leist who ended the first part of the day in ninth and continued a very impressive weekend.
All in all, 22 cars took part in the session this afternoon, with the field being separated by just seconds. 21 cars ran a lap above 180 MPH and the field was separated by 1.3277 seconds.
The lone driver absent from the session was Juncos Racing’s Kyle Kaiser. After participating in Thursday’s rookie session and both test sessions on Friday, the team elected to pass on the opportunity to run on Saturday.
After a two-hour break, teams will be given one final opportunity to test this evening with a three-hour session that kicks off at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on racecontrol.indycar.com.
Expect speeds to rise during tonight’s final test session, as teams work on setups that will more closely replicate what they will be running during the April 7 event at ISM Raceway, which is to be run predominantly at night.
The fifth and final testing session at ISM Raceway in Avondale, Arizona concluded Saturday night as Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Takuma Sato ended the night as the fastest Verizon IndyCar Series driver with a speed of 189.855 MPH.
The fastest Chevrolet engine in the field belonged to Will Power, who finished up the evening test session in second with a best lap speed of 189.769 MPH. Chevrolet would leave the track with three of the top five spots as Tony Kanaan and Josef Newgarden joined the Chevy party, while Marco Andretti and his No. 98 Honda rounded out the top five.
The top rookie would be Ed Carpenter Racing’s Spencer Pigot. The 2015 Indy Lights champion slotted in ninth with a speed of 187.306 MPH, just ahead of Dale Coyne Racing rookie Pietro Fittipaldi.
As was the case in the first session on Saturday afternoon, 22 cars logged laps on track. Juncos Racing and driver Kyle Kaiser skipped the two sessions after running during Thursday’s rookie test, as well as during both sessions on Friday.
The field was separated by just .780 seconds, with all drivers well over 180 MPH and 18 drivers finishing the evening with a top lap under 20 seconds.
Five yellows for incidents marred the evening session, the first when A.J. Foyt Racing rookie Matheus Leist brushes the turn two wall, though he continued on.
The second incident-related yellow flag flew when Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon made more significant contact with the wall. The 2016 Phoenix winner and four-time series champion would escape from his Dallara-Honda unscathed, but his car would be towed back to the garage with minor rear damage, prematurely ending his night.
Leist would again bring out two more yellow flags, making contact with the wall in turn four in both instances. Graham Rahal brushed the same wall minutes after Leist’s final incident to bring out the evening’s last yellow just before the session ended.
Now that the lone open pre-season test of 2018 has concluded, there will be tests at Barber Motorsports Park (February 20) and Sebring International Raceway (February 27-28) to keep an eye on to conclude this month. After that, the preparation will shift to the 2018 season on the street circuit in St. Petersburg, Florida on March 11.
Thank you to everyone who followed along this weekend and thanks to ISM Raceway and IndyCar Media for being such accommodating hosts.
Images courtesy of INDYCAR Media.