The hits just kept on coming Friday, as two more IZOD IndyCar Series drivers suffered 10-spot penalties on the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach starting grid.
Counting all 11 Chevrolet entries, Dragon Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais — and now, his teammate Katherine Legge and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s Oriol Servia — a total of 14 drivers have now been tagged for unapproved engine changes either going into or during this weekend.
But while Chevy’s massive swap (triggered by James Hinchcliffe’s engine failure during a test session earlier this week) will be tough on that group come Sunday, the changes for Bourdais, Legge and Servia may be just as taxing on Lotus, whose engine supply issues have been well-known for some time. Bourdais replaced his engine following the most recent event at Barber Motorsports Park, while Legge and Servia got fresh powerplants before Friday’s first practice session at the Beach.
Today’s afternoon practice for the IndyCars was cut short by heavy rains, meaning that we’ll have to wait until Saturday morning to see the speeds get back to normal on the 1.98-mile street circuit. The forecast calls for a slight chance of rain in the morning with sunny skies in the afternoon, while Sunday looks ideal with temps around the mid to high 60s.
Both Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers did installation laps in the rain during the afternoon, but while Dario Franchitti came back in after a slow run, Scott Dixon found himself in the wall at Turn 1 shortly after he came out of the pits (jump ahead to about the 0:38 mark on the video below to see Dixon’s incident):
“I just aquaplaned out there,” Dixon explained later in a TCGR statement. “I saw a puddle and thought it was really no big deal. I was waiting for the tires to come up to temperature and asked the team if I should come into the pit lane. Before I even had the chance, I hit the puddle and couldn’t turn.”
If you recall, Dale Coyne Racing tweeted earlier Friday that they didn’t make it to the morning practice due to changing their turbochargers. As it turns out, most of the other Honda teams were doing the same.
According to Marshall Pruett of SPEEDTV.com, INDYCAR rejected Honda’s updated turbo configuration and forced them to revert back to the one they had before. His report also mentions that at least one engine manufacturer’s complaints about Honda’s updates is believed to be behind INDYCAR’s decision.
Honda uses a single turbo on its engines as opposed to Chevy and Lotus’ twin-turbo setup.