PANTHER, HILDEBRAND USE BARBER OPEN TEST TO READY FOR ST. PETE
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (March 13, 2013) – The Panther Racing crew wrapped up the IndyCar open test at Barber Motorsports Park Wednesday evening, with driver JR Hildebrand and the No. 4 National Guard Chevy finishing the two-day test 21st on the time charts with a fast lap of 1:08.2504. With the start of the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series Championship just around the corner, the Panther team was able to get some valuable track time before the season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg.
“It was great to get back into the car and be back at the track with all the Panther boys,” Hildebrand said. “Barber was a two-test but we had a very busy couple of days, and I think it’s because we felt like we had to get through a lot of different items because the start of the season is coming up so quick.”
“It was a busy couple days,” team General Manager Chris Mower said. “We spent a lot of our time here testing items for when we come back to Barber in April, and we were able to test a few things that we felt could give us a read for St Petersburg. We were also able to get a good read on the engine, and the new 2013 Chevy Engine ran great and we were able to customize its drivability to suit JR pretty easily so we shouldn’t have to worry about that in St Pete.”
Panther and Hildebrand spent much of the open test focused on getting data for the up-coming race at Barber and practicing pit-stops, but the team was also able to get some data for the race at St. Pete. With a new Chevy engine for the 2013 season, Panther and Hildebrand were able to run 93 laps and use the time on track to get accustom to the engine and customize settings to better suit Hildebrand’s driving style prior to the start of the season.
“Overall I think it was a very productive test,” JR continued. “We were able to test a lot of different aspects on the car, the boys and I got some pit stop practice, and the new Chevy engine ran great. We definitely found some interesting things, and now the trick will be to go back and understand how it all fits together best for different circumstances. We’re definitely looking forward to St. Pete.”
The team will return to Indianapolis for pre-race prep for a few days before the race haulers head out on the road to St. Pete, and after a successful test at Baber the team is looking forward to a strong start to the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series Championship.
“Obviously being a team in this level of motorsport we always want to be P-1 and although we aren’t quite there yet, we have definitely learned a few things here that will help us to get there,” Mower continued. “JR drove a lot of consistent laps, our Engineers got a lot of data and our crew did a lot of pit stop practice so we are happy with our package going into St Pete. Now all we have to do is race prep when we get home and three days after that our trucks will be on the road for the first round of the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Championship.”