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Ganassi group expects Armstrong, Sato to shine in shared experience

Formula 2 exile Armstrong is to drive the #11 Ganassi-Honda in all 12 road and street course IndyCar rounds, while two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato was set to drive the five ovals, but right now is guaranteed only the PPG 375 at Texas Motor Speedway and the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500. Simmons

Ganassi group expects Armstrong, Sato to shine in shared experience

Components 2 exile Armstrong is to drive the #11 Ganassi-Honda in all 12 highway and road course IndyCar rounds, whereas two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato was set to drive the 5 ovals, however proper now’s assured solely the PPG 375 at Texas Motor Speedway and the 107th working of the Indianapolis 500.

Simmons mentioned he’s already been impressed by Armstrong who first examined for the group at Thermal Membership for 2 days, the place he was third quickest within the closing session, after which was fourth quickest of 9 automobiles in a closing pre-season take a look at at Sebring. Since then, the 22-year-old New Zealander has certified 13th and completed 11th on his debut at St. Petersburg, and final week he was sixth of 16 automobiles in testing at Barber Motorsports Park. He completed the day simply 0.2s slower than 2021 champion Alex Palou and forward of his different two teammates, Marcus Ericsson and Scott Dixon.

Simmons advised “Marcus was solely 13 seconds away from transferring to Q2 in qualifying at St. Pete, and by that I imply after the pink flag [for Simon Pagenaud sliding into a tire wall and stalling], lots of drivers bought an opportunity for a closing flyer. Sadly, as a result of it was a fast pink, when Marcus got here in there wasn’t sufficient time for him to get one other lap’s value of gas in and get out once more.

“However he’s been super-impressive – actually calm, and fast each time he’s been within the automotive. I believe we’ll see much more from him because the season continues.

“Driving style-wise, I might say he’s extra like Ericsson than Dixon, however I wouldn’t say we’ve seen any specific weaknesses in his driving. To be performing the place he’s, contemplating the restricted testing now we have nowadays and the restricted quantity of occasions he’s been in our automotive, has been fairly spectacular to us.”

Eric Cowdin is race engineer for the #11 automotive, so is working with Armstrong and Sato simply a few seasons after he ran the #48 CGR entry for transient NASCAR convert Jimmie Johnson, and Tony Kanaan, with whom he had gained the IndyCar title in 2004 with Andretti Autosport and the 2013 Indy 500, with KV Racing.

“Yeah, Eric’s very calm and really skilled,” mentioned Simmons, “and he’s carried out at a excessive degree with fairly just a few drivers through the years. He’s fairly unshakeable and really centered. He’s the suitable man to get essentially the most out of a rookie like Marcus and a veteran like Takuma.”

Simmons mentioned he was trying ahead to working with Sato and believes the 46-year-old with six IndyCar wins to his title can be a precious asset to the group.

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“Takuma is one other man who’s going to should hit the bottom working,” Simmons remarked. “He’s had a few seat fittings, and he was in St. Pete getting embedded within the group, however we haven’t had him on the simulator

“So he’s not going to have lots of time to get used to our setups and find out how our automobiles deal with on ovals. However he’s clearly a really a proficient man who’s run effectively at Indy and Texas – all of the ovals in truth – so we count on good issues from him.

“We’ve already seen some issues that Takuma appears to be like at just a little in a different way than we do and it’s at all times good to get that different opinion and perspective. Once you’re on the lookout for such small items of time on ovals, that may make an enormous distinction when it comes to grid positions and ending positions.

“I’ll be very shocked if our fundamental rivals at Indy haven’t made some good progress there over the winter, so an skilled and proficient man like Takuma may help to usher in some recent concepts.”

Two-time Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato with the Borg-Warner Trophy

Two-time Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato with the Borg-Warner Trophy

Picture by: BorgWarner Inc.

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