Patricio O'Ward, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

IndyCar Detroit: O’Ward fastest in first practice on new street track

Having raced on nearby Belle Isle Island from 1992, Penske Entertainment Corp decided to revive the downtown circuit for the IndyCar event with a new 1.7-mile, nine-turn layout in the shadow of the General Motors Renaissance Center.

It utilises some sections of the 2.5-mile track used by Formula 1 between 1982 and 1988.

Teams and drivers got their first taste of the circuit in a 90-minute session on Friday afternoon, and from the get-go the bumps on Jefferson Avenue caused bottoming and braking instability issues into Turn 3 as well as the opening corner.

The session was red-flagged early on for Agustin Canapino (Juncos Hollinger Racing) running long and stalling at Turn 1.

Kyle Kirkwood bounced back from his Indianapolis 500 inversion by setting the early pace for Andretti Autosport at 1m05.4753s but times tumbled as the racing line rubbered-in.

Team-mate Colton Herta then bested him just before the one-third point with 1m04.3840s.

Canapino was in the wars again when he clipped the wall on the inside of Turn 7 and pounded the outside barrier, damaging his car enough to put him out of the session.

Graham Rahal caused the second red flag, stalling as he tried to rejoin from the Turn 1 escape road, Marcus Ericsson brought out the third when he did likewise and the front brakes caught fire on his Chip Ganassi Racing entry and Scott McLaughlin caused a fourth at the same spot.

Alex Palou caused a fifth when he couldn’t get reverse gear at Turn 3, and O’Ward caused a final one when he stalled after a spin-turn went awry at Turn 8.

In the closing moments, drivers switched to the softer, green-sidewalled alternate tyres.

O’Ward took the top spot with 1m03.5436s and immediately overshot a corner and had to spin turn to recover. He then went faster again with 1m03.0773s.

Driver after driver took their shot of toppling him, but just couldn’t manage. Scott Dixon got closest for Ganassi, 0.0986s away, ahead of Alexander Rossi (McLaren), Kirkwood, Palou and Felix Rosenqvist (McLaren).

Helio Castroneves also had to miss a chunk of the session when a bump caused his Meyer Shank Racing’s Honda to over-rev and require an engine change.

The new track also features a split pitlane, with stall selections on either side chosen by order of Indy Grand Prix qualifying.

The pitlane exit blends straight into the racing line for Turn 1, with Alexander Rossi (Arrow McLaren) and Rinus VeeKay (Ed Carpenter Racing) having near-misses.

IndyCar Detroit first practice results



1 Patricio O’Ward Arrow McLaren 1’03.0773
2 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing 1’03.1759 0.0986
3 Alexander Rossi Arrow McLaren 1’03.3630 0.2857
4 Kyle Kirkwood Andretti Autosport 1’03.5140 0.4367
5 Alex Palou Chip Ganassi Racing 1’03.6388 0.5615
6 Felix Rosenqvist Arrow McLaren 1’03.6929 0.6156
7 Will Power Team Penske 1’03.7439 0.6666
8 Colton Herta Andretti Autosport 1’03.7540 0.6767
9 Callum Ilott Juncos Hollinger Racing 1’03.7984 0.7211
10 Scott McLaughlin Team Penske 1’03.9518 0.8745
11 Marcus Ericsson Chip Ganassi Racing 1’04.1082 1.0309
12 Christian Lundgaard Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 1’04.1978 1.1205
13 Simon Pagenaud Meyer Shank Racing 1’04.2281 1.1508
14 Marcus Armstrong Chip Ganassi Racing 1’04.3134 1.2361
15 Josef Newgarden Team Penske 1’04.4376 1.3603
16 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 1’04.4797 1.4024
17 Devlin DeFrancesco Andretti Autosport 1’04.6259 1.5486
18 Jack Harvey Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 1’04.6777 1.6004
19 David Malukas Dale Coyne Racing 1’04.7698 1.6925
20 Rinus van Kalmthout Ed Carpenter Racing 1’04.7800 1.7027
21 Ray Robb Dale Coyne Racing 1’04.8143 1.7370
22 Conor Daly Ed Carpenter Racing 1’04.8789 1.8016
23 Romain Grosjean Andretti Autosport 1’05.5223 2.4450
24 Agustin Canapino Juncos Hollinger Racing 1’05.6454 2.5681
25 Santino Ferrucci A.J. Foyt Enterprises 1’06.0065 2.9292
26 Helio Castroneves Meyer Shank Racing 1’06.0689 2.9916
27 Benjamin Pedersen A.J. Foyt Enterprises 1’07.7024 4.6251
View full results

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