Pietro Fittipaldi believes he has made positive progress in his adaptation to IndyCar following the recent Phoenix open test.
Speaking after the final session of IndyCar’s official two-day testing at ISM Raceway, the Brazilian was happy with preparations for his series debut: “I think we made a good step forward in this session and I was happy with my progression over the three days of being in the car.”
Fittipaldi turned his first oval laps in an IndyCar Thursday in a rookie-only session before joining the rest of the field for open sessions on Friday and Saturday.
Completing 285 trouble-free laps in the #19 Paysafe Dale Coyne Racing Honda, Fittipaldi was the highest placed rookie in the Saturday evening session with the 10th fastest time.
“I’m gaining more experience with each day. Like yesterday, the team is doing a good job and helping me get up to speed. We’re trying different things on the No. 19 Paysafe car so I can experience them and see what the changes do on the oval”, explained Fittipaldi who will contest 7 races in the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series.
Turning laps alongside series veteran and multiple ChampCar champion Sebastien Bourdais, Fittipaldi impressed with his consistency and increasing speed. Setting an average speed of 187.217mph across all sessions placed him 15th on the overall timing charts, just a few positions behind Bourdais in 11th.
Fittipaldi will return to Phoenix in April to make his IndyCar race debut at round 2 of the 2018 championship. The current Formula V8 3.5 champion will also contest the Indianapolis road course, Indy 500, Texas, Mid-Ohio, Portland and Sonoma rounds.
Canadian Zachary Claman DeMelo will take over driving duties for the other 10 events on the calendar.
The next IndyCar test for Dale Coyne Racing will be on March 5 at Sebring ahead of the series opener in St. Petersburg, FL on March 11. Fittipaldi will sit out this test as Claman DeMelo takes over driving duties for the #19 machine.