McLaughlin inside top 10 at Sebring test

Scott McLaughlin in the #3 Dex Imaging entry. Picture: IndyCar

Scott McLaughlin has opened his 2022 season with the ninth quickest time in IndyCar Series testing at Sebring International Raceway.

The first day of the open test saw 17 drivers on track ahead of the opening round of the series later this month on the streets of St Petersburg.

For McLaughlin, it was his first opportunity to work with new engineer Ben Bretzman.

Jonathan Diuguid, who the Kiwi worked with in his first season, has shifted to the Porsche Penske Motorsport programme developing a new LMDh prototype.

Bretzman joins McLaughlin in the wake of Simon Pagenaud’s departure from the team.

“End of the day here at Sebring, my neck is about to fall off, but it’s nice to get back in an IndyCar,” said McLaughlin, who ended the day 0.478s off the top time.

“Plenty of G’s, but feeling really good. Pretty solid day here in the #3 Dex Imaging Chevy, it feels solid.

“Great baseline, worked with my new engineer Ben Bretzman and feel like we worked really well together and it bodes well for the rest of the season.

“We’re looking good, the team is feeling good, and we’ll see what we’ve got come St Pete.”

The day’s running was topped by Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta, who is arguably among the top title favourites after a strong finish to last season.

He clocked a 51.851s ahead of rookie David Malukas of Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports, who was only 0.007s away from Herta.

Romain Grosjean, who was quickest by mid-morning, ended the day third on a 52.021s for Andretti Autosport to make it a Honda one-two-three.

Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden and Will Power were fourth and fifth respectively on a 52.059s and 52.211s.

Graham Rahal led the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing entries in sixth while Felix Rosenqvist was seventh for McLaren SP.

Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport) was eighth, McLaughlin (Team Penske) ninth, and Jack Harvey (Meyer Shank Racing) the last of the top 10 runners.

Series rookies Christian Lundgaard, Kyle Kirkwood, and Devlin DeFrancesco occupied 11th, 12th, and 13th.

The field was rounded out by Pato O’Ward (McLaren SP), Callum Ilott (Juncos Hollinger Racing), Tatiana Calderon (A. J. Foyt Enterprises), and Kevin Magnussen (Chip Ganassi Racing).

Magnussen, who joined Chip Ganassi Racing for this year’s 24 Hours of Daytona, had his first hitout with the IndyCar powerhouse at Sebring.

The Danish driver piloted the #10 car typically driven by Alex Palou, who was absent for the test.

Results: IndyCar Series, Sebring International Raceway pre-season test

Pos Num Driver Team Engine Time
1 26 Colton Herta Andretti Autosport Honda 51.851
2 18 David Malukas Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports Honda 51.858
3 28 Romain Grosjean Andretti Autosport Honda 52.021
4 2 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Chevrolet 52.059
5 12 Will Power Team Penske Chevrolet 52.211
6 15 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda 52.255
7 7 Felix Rosenqvist McLaren SP Chevrolet 52.281
8 27 Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Honda 52.297
9 3 Scott McLaughlin Team Penske Chevrolet 52.329
10 45 Jack Harvey Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda 52.362
11 30 Christian Lundgaard Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda 52.373
12 14 Kyle Kirkwood A. J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet 52.389
13 29 Devlin DeFrancesco Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport Honda 52.407
14 5 Pato O’Ward McLaren SP Chevrolet 52.424
15 77 Callum Ilott Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet 52.481
16 11 Tatiana Calderon A. J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet 52.54
17 10 Kevin Magnussen Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 52.839

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