Forward of IndyCar’s two-day take a look at at Thermal Membership this week, Pagenaud of Meyer Shank Racing was requested what he hopes to attain on Thursday and Friday.
“What I can inform you is we have now a plan of issues we have tried on the simulator,” stated the 2016 IndyCar champion and 2019 Indy 500 winner. “With no testing, truthfully, we do much more simulator as of late than we ever have carried out earlier than.
“That is the reality for the groups. That is the place the cash goes now. We do not have entry to racetracks with the regulation. For the drivers it is a bit of a disgrace. We’re dropping contact with the tracks and automobiles, however that is simply the way in which it is going.
“We have carried out plenty of work on simulators with the designs, a number of packages we predict may be higher for the issues that we had final 12 months. One of many essential points was tire put on, which was my essential downside in races.
“We’re going to consider what we discovered on the simulator and ensure it interprets in actual life. I am hoping it actually does, as a result of with two days of testing, if it would not work, then I’ll have the identical downside I had final 12 months. I’ve obtained plenty of hope on this take a look at and plenty of expectation.
“The monitor itself, the corners are fairly totally different, the radius and the way in which the monitor is, than what we see on our road course and highway course. Nevertheless it’s okay. We are able to do lengthy runs and examine the tire vitality and see that. That is going to be the job.”
Pagenaud stated the discount in testing significantly hurts IndyCar groups attempting to catch up, comparable to Meyer Shank, particularly given the variability of the tire compounds from monitor to tracl,
“We went to check final 12 months twice,” he stated. “[What we discovered] translated to some tracks however not all tracks. It translated to a road course the place we have been extraordinarily sturdy, however did not translate to the highway course.
“We’ll work with the highway course tire right here, which is best for us as a result of that is tire put on, which we’re having a giant concern with. Firestone brings a special sort of tire for every monitor. It makes it very tough for us after we go testing to determine what the tires really want.
“The tire is a very powerful factor on the racecar, particularly whenever you’re in a collection like IndyCar proper now that’s so shut. We all know the automotive so nicely that the margin for enhancements are very small. Should you can simply extract a little bit bit extra out of the tire, you are going to have a greater benefit. Penske did that final 12 months, they discovered what it was. We did not. The purpose for us is to determine that out with the little little bit of testing we get.
“It is powerful. The distinction between sportscars and IndyCar is sportscars you’ll be able to take a look at as a lot as you need, like we did this winter. You form of know what you may have going into the primary race. IndyCar you get two days. What you bought is what you bought. That makes it very tough and really reliant on the event that has been carried out by the engineers.”
Pagenaud helped Meyer Shank Acura win the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona in each 2022 and final weekend, and crew founder Michael Shank stated that the French veteran drove the stint of his life. Requested if the excessive of victory stays with him or could possibly be crushed if MSR-Honda has a nasty IndyCar take a look at, Pagenaud responded: “No, it will not be crushed in a day if one thing goes mistaken as a result of it is work that I’ve carried out. I’ve constructed on that work all final 12 months. Sadly I did not get to point out it to you as a lot as I wished with outcomes. However within the background, I really feel like, yeah, there’s one thing there. The potential is superb.
“It’ll take a little bit little bit of time. You have to be affected person. However it’s a must to understand how good you’re inside and it’s a must to consider in it. Actually when outcomes begin exhibiting, then impulsively the rise is even stronger and it makes you are feeling actually good. So that may be a huge optimistic.
“Actually I really feel on high of the world proper now. I am driving the wave and I’ll use it to my benefit. It is an ideal timing as a result of with my preparation, it is coming at an ideal time.”
Pagenaud stated that his second straight Rolex 24 triumph was psychologically, “Massive, large”. He went on: “It gave me confidence that my coaching was good, that mentally talking I am engaged on the suitable issues, that my affect inside the crew goes in the suitable route.
“Helio and myself are nearer than ever, serving to the crew in some ways. It is good as a result of it is exhibiting Mike and Jim that our enter can be serving to placing us on the map. Every part goes in response to plan, even higher. I am stuffed with confidence, stuffed with happiness as a result of the work I’ve carried out is paying off.”