IndyCar veterans Scott Dixon and Sebastien Bourdais say their previous experience of the Portland Raceway will offer them little or no advantage this weekend.
Both drivers took part in IndyCar’s open test ahead of the series’ return to the circuit – the first time since 2007 – and admitted the road course is a very different beast.
“Totally different,” Dixon said after topping the open test for Chip Ganassi Racing in his PNC Bank Honda. “The track itself is different, the surface is different. The cars are totally different. It’s almost like we’re at a new track again.”
Portland now “very different” according to Bourdais
Bourdais echoed those sentiments as he reflected on his first laps at Portland since winning in ChampCar in 2007: “The curbing situation is different enough that it changes everything,” he said.
“The new pavement, obviously, there used to be some concrete patches which dictated you use a certain line and really hit the outside tires on it. It used to be a very specific and typical racetrack. And now it’s got a very different characteristic. You’re really shooting for something different.”
Despite re-pavement work and widening of turns 4 to 6, Bourdais admitted it will take a while to get used to the narrowness of the Oregon circuit: “It’s narrower than I remember it. The width goes from super-wide to very narrow.”
“It’s probably the narrowest place we go all season. It’s just a feeling you just have to get used to again.”
Despite new characteristics, Dixon still fastest at Portland
Dixon topped the open test with title rival Will Power second fastest in his Team Penske Verizon Chevrolet. Power’s teammate and title outsider Josef Newgarden completed the top 3.
Alexander Rossi – sitting second in the point standings heading to Portland – was 9th quickest, four tenths of a second off Dixon’s best time of 58.36 seconds.