Chevrolet Indycar at Thermal Club – Indycar Preseason Testing

Will Power, No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet, led the Team Chevy contingent after two sessions completing Day One of Preseason Testing at The Thermal Club in the Coachella Valley just south of Palm Springs, California.


Times around the 3.067-mile, 17-turn road course dropped as the day progressed with Power’s fastest lap of 01:39.372, 110.890 mph landing the defending NTT INDYCAR Series champion just two-tenths of a second down to fastest of the day.


The top-thirteen drivers ended the two sessions only six-tenths difference. All 27 drivers were able to get a solid amount of laps in under clear blue skies, with a 60 degree temperature and a slight breeze.


Day two of testing will start at 9:00 am PST and run until 4:30 pm.



Thursday, February 2, 2023

Callum Ilott

Press Conference


Callum Ilott, No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet, seventh quickest today:


THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Wrapping up the first day of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES test day. The fastest in both sessions today, Colton Herta. Also joining us seventh quick in session two, Callum Ilott. Callum, you’re 24, the old guy of the group. Colton is like 22. This is like the next generation of young racers.


CALLUM ILOTT: You said I’m old?


THE MODERATOR: You’re old when it comes to the next generation.


Callum, your thoughts on a full day today? Obviously pretty successful in the Chevrolet.


CALLUM ILOTT: Yeah, starting off I was getting used to the circuit, also the team. It was all right. Not as good as him. I think he set a great lap straightaway.


Coming into the afternoon we had a couple items we needed to test and get through.


It was good. I like this place. It’s a big mix of slow speed, long corners, high speed. I think not very forgiving if you do go wrong. No one has put in the wall yet. That’s a good sign.


THE MODERATOR: You see some video, maybe some onboards of various sports cars that are here. Once you get out on the racetrack, was it anything similar?


CALLUM ILOTT: The only thing I found was an E92 M3. That was a good one. That was this track. Obviously, a few layouts. The angle of it was on the floor so you couldn’t see where you were going.


I don’t know. I don’t think anyone has this on a simulator. 


“It was a bit of a discovery process for everyone. It’s high speed. I think it’s a great place to start to get us active. To do two days here, yeah, we’ll see what tomorrow holds.



THE MODERATOR: We’ll go ahead and open it up for questions.


Q. What do you think about the possibility of doing a race here? Would it work?


CALLUM ILOTT: It sets a standard really of what we want to be doing with this series. It’s really, really high level, high tech. As a circuit, yeah, it’s got a little bit different corners.


I think the overtaking, we’ll find a way, we’re INDYCAR, someone always sends it down the inside. I think if we can extend the straight and get some maybe between turn six and seven some overtaking. It’s definitely a great circuit to drive and good fun and a bit different to the normal winter training we get in Florida. So I like the circuit.


Yeah, I think if we could, it would be good to race here once.


Q. Anything from a safety upgrade standpoint?


CALLUM ILOTT: I think the (indiscernible) might propose a little bit of an issue. Again, it depends on what angle you’re hitting them obviously.


It’s a pretty straightforward process to make it a bit safer and a bit more cushiony. I’m not in charge of that stuff. I just drive and try not to hit those things.


Yeah, I think it’s a straightforward process. To be fair, everyone has had a little moment today, spun and carried on. That’s a good start. Obviously there are anomalies, these things happen. So far, so good.


Q. Your teammate, do you know the problems he was having?


CALLUM ILOTT: Obviously it’s not easy to jump in these things. He did a good job by the end of the day.


We’re finding our way with the car. There were a couple things in the morning where I was really not happy with it. I know for me that that’s not how the car should behave, whereas he might go to push it a bit more because he doesn’t know on that side. I think that’s what happened on one of the places.


In the afternoon I think they kind of followed the way we’d gone. Yeah, I think he was all right. Look, you’ve always got to push it. A lot of others were making mistakes. I think he was 7/10ths off me by the end of the day. Not bad for the first day.



Q. Callum, last year you said Portland and Laguna was where it started coming together for you. You had experience on those tracks from the year before. When you got the front row at Laguna, was that a sudden breakthrough or because you knew your way around?


CALLUM ILOTT: No, we could go back to, like, Long Beach was one that I’d done before. I think we qualified even worse than the year before. It was put together last minute for the year before. It’s not always the case.


Obviously I know my way around Laguna. That helped a bit. It was one of those tracks that you always drove on Gran Turismo or something as well. I knew it on that side.


Barber was the first place it kind of clicked. At the end of the season I think that’s where we started to understand where we needed to start with the car and have a good baseline. It kind of reflected in those two.


Hopefully I would like to be able to do the same in St. Pete and come along. I think the street circuit car has always been a bit more difficult, a couple things we struggle with. I don’t know if we’ve solved them or not, so it will be interesting to see.



THE MODERATOR: Callum, your eyes lit up when Colton said seven first-gear corners.


CALLUM ILOTT: I’ll go a few second gears, but he was quicker so I might need to revisit that. If I get the blue lights, I’m going to shift.