IndyCar teams preparing for first test of 2024

The NTT IndyCar Series’ long winter of silence will finally be broken at Homestead-Miami Speedway on January 22-24 as most of the teams and drivers who comprise the field in 2024 are set to take turns lapping the Florida speedway’s large roval.

The three-day test is an important one for those in attendance as many of the pairings will get their first outing in Dallara DW12s that conform to IndyCar’s 2024 specifications, minus the energy recovery systems that will debut in competition at some point after May’s Indianapolis 500.

Due to supply delays with a number of the major new-for-2024 IndyCar chassis items, the teams headed to Homestead will be allowed to run a single car apiece in 2024 configuration. As more of those items are received and teams are able to update their entire fleet of cars, the series will allow teams to hit the track with more entries.


IndyCar teams are expected to cycle their drivers through their lone Chevy- and Honda-powered cars over the course of the Monday-Wednesday Homestead test, which falls directly between IMSA’s January 18-21 Roar Before the 24 test at Daytona International Speedway and the start of practice for the January 25-28 Rolex 24 At Daytona race.

With more than half of the drivers representing the 2024 IndyCar field set to race at Daytona, a flurry of travel between Daytona and Homestead will fill the rest of the month as they switch between prototypes, GTs, and open-wheel race cars.

“It’s going to be a lot of trips here for racing-related things, so why not just get busy from the word go?” said Tom Blomqvist, winner of the last two Rolex 24 At Daytonas who is taking a full-time turn to IndyCar with Meyer Shank Racing. “But I don’t care about all the travel; I just want to get behind the wheel of an IndyCar. I’m eager to get in the car and get that whole learning process going.”

With MSR taking a break from IMSA this year, Blomqvist has been drafted in by Action Express Racing, the team that won the inaugural hybrid GTP championship, to complete its No. 31 Cadillac V-Series.R lineup.

Once the 30-year-old ace is done driving the 5.5-liter naturally-aspirated Cadillac V8 at the Roar, he’ll head four hours south to Homestead and begin preparations for his rookie IndyCar campaign with MSR’s 2.2-liter twin-turbo V6-powered Dallara and try to build on the things he learned during three IndyCar outings with the team last season.

“I wasn’t happy with where I ended things at Laguna Seca, so I’m just keen to get back in, get started with that whole process of getting ready for the IndyCar championship, because that’s where my focus lies,” he said. “This is going to be a super-important couple of days for me. But it’s going to be weird because the last two years for me, the Daytona race has been the biggest one of the year for me since I was doing full-time IMSA, and there’s been that pressure to really try and win the thing for all that it means to your season.

“So it’s going to be weird because I want to win Daytona again, get a third [overall win], but it’s no longer my main program. When it’s over, actually, I start my main program with Meyer Shank in IndyCar, so I’m just pumped to start driving.”

The pace of IndyCar testing picks up immediately after the Rolex 24 when official running with the series’ energy recovery systems returns after nearly three months of downtime with a January 29-31 hybrid outing scheduled for Homestead-Miami. Four cars, with two from Chevy run by Arrow McLaren and Team Penske, and two from Honda run by Andretti Global and Chip Ganassi Racing, are anticipated to log miles on the latest “production” version of the ERS units.

A second hybrid test, also at Homestead, is on the books for February 20-22, and the entire field is scheduled for a two-day teams’ test at Sebring from February 26-27, just prior to the March 8-10 season opener at St. Petersburg, where the full 27-car field is expected to appear. IndyCar intends to split the test with roughly half the cars lapping on the 26th and the rest on the 27th.

Team testing action resumes on March 18 at Barber Motorsports Park and shifts to Texas Motor Speedway on March 27, where oval rookie tests will be conducted by the series. The Friday and Saturday of IndyCar’s $1 Million Challenge event at the Thermal Club near Palm Springs in California will serve as a standard open test on March 22-23 before the all-star race with the biggest purse in series’ history — outside the Indianapolis 500 — takes over on March 24.

Another hybrid test is listed for April 2 at Sebring and then, days prior to the Grand Prix of Long Beach, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Open Test, where the majority of the Indy 500 field will run, is booked for April 10-11 before racing takes center stage through May.

Story originally appeared on Racer