Hornish Concludes Motegi Test

MOTEGI, Japan - Indy Racing League champion Sam Hornish Jr. completed 86 laps Nov. 8 at Twin Ring Motegi during the second and final day of IRL testing at the 1.5-mile oval in Japan.

Hornish, who will do an exhibition run at the facility on Nov. 9, recorded a fast lap of 26.862 seconds in his No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone in overcast and cold conditions.

“It’s a beautiful track, beautiful facility,” Hornish said. “I’ve really enjoyed the testing that we did. We got some good data, and I just can’t wait to come back here and race.”

In addition to Hornish, Sarah Fisher also turned laps at Motegi, taking guests and media for rides around the oval in the Indy Racing Experience two-seater race car. And while the two-seater reacts differently than her normal Indy Racing car, it gave Fisher an idea of what to look forward to during the April 13 race.

“I expect it to be very competitive and very close,” Fisher said. “It’s seems like we have a great on-track package for tracks similar to this. It will be a good show. It’s going to be very exciting. It’s very wide and it’s a little bit flatter than a lot of the places that we go to normally. I could only go 150 mph in the car I drove today, and it’s much different in the two-seater than it is in the IRL car, but I think the tack is going to provide us with a lot of room to race side by side and put on a very competitive show.”

That was good news to Brian Barnhart, senior vice president of operations for the IRL, who indicated the tests with Hornish went well and that the league is looking forward to returning for the April 13 race.

“Twin Ring Motegi is an outstanding facility,” Barnhart said. “We’re very honored to be here and appreciate the opportunity that Twin Ring Motegi and Honda have given us to export the Indy Racing League’s outstanding oval track brand of racing. I really think the Japanese fans will be greatly entertained by the job Sarah and Sam and the rest of our drivers can do on the racetrack.

"I’d like to thank Sam and the Panther Racing team for their hard work and the feedback they provided during this test. They generated a lot of useful information that will be passed along to all of the teams. We were able to achieve what we set out to do which is the sign of a successful test.”

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