The first race weekend of the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season is officially in the books. Teams and drivers got their first taste of real practice with the new aero kits on the streets of St Petersburg today. There weren’t many surprises in the first practice session, as Team Penske and Chevrolet flexed their muscle.
Defending series champion Will Power led all drivers in the first practice session, with a best lap of 1:01.4709 around the 14-turn street circuit. Two of his Penske running mates (Juan Montoya, Helio Castroneves) were right behind him. Scott Dixon and Sebastien Bourdais rounded out the top five, which all had a best lap that was faster than last year’s Pole-winning speed by Takuma Sato.
Sato’s new teammate, Jack Hawksworth, was the fastest Honda in the first practice session. Nine of the top 11 cars were all powered by Chevrolet.
Shortly after the first practice session ended, the rain began to fall in St Petersburg. The heavy rain and standing water prevented essentially all on-track activity for the rest of the day. There weren’t any teams willing to run on the wet course, for good reason. There was no point in running in the rain as both Saturday and Sunday will be dry. There’s not much to gain, and the risk of slipping and damaging a race car without many spare parts was too high.
Below are highlights from today’s practice.
Qualifications for the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg begin tomorrow at 4:15 PM. There will be three rounds of qualifying to determine the starting order for Sunday’s season opening race. Before qualifications, there will be one final 45-minute practice session beginning at 12:30 on Saturday.
You can watch Practice and Qualifying on Saturday, via IndyCar’s YouTube channel.
Practice Photos via IndyCar