Laguna Seca ‘takes every bit of skill and focus’ – Herta

Colton Herta pulled no punches in his description of a track he conquered with pole position and victory in both 2019 and 2021. WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, he said “is really, really tough… a true driver’s track. To get the most out of the car and a lap around here, it takes every bit of skill and focus.”

The Andretti Global-Honda driver headed into the weekend still frustrated by his recent run of results in the NTT IndyCar Series. There was a spin and crash at the Indianapolis 500, a shunt at Detroit after taking pole position, and a spin to the back of the field at Road America after being punted by Josef Newgarden at Turn 1, lap 1.

However, after setting second fastest time in opening practice for IndyCar’s eighth round, the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey, he said he’s at least encouraged by the speed of his car.


“It’s frustrating, the last couple results,” he admitted, “but the pace has been terrific the last three weekends – and really, all year, but specifically the last three weekends. Again, we’re off to a good start with second here.

“Still a lot of the weekend left to do. It’s promising going into this weekend. We’ve won here twice. We’ve had good race cars. We were looking at a podium last year until the gearbox broke. This is a place that we’ve done really good at in the past, and I hope we can continue that into the future.”

Herta played down the changes to the track surface.

“I would say the grip maybe went down a little bit,” he said, “but it still seems to be there. I think you might have a tiny bit more tire deg[radation], but very minor changes. It seems like the repave has held up nicely over the year. That’s good to see; they did a really good job doing it.”

Asked about the famous plunge downhill, the Corkscrew, Herta stated: “It’s difficult. The hardest part about it is before the Corkscrew even happens – the braking. You’re braking from left to right, so you’re off-loading the side of the car, making it light, so it’s more susceptible to locking.

“As soon as you turn in, you tend to have a lot of understeer until you kind of get into the camber of the corner. It really grips up and kind of pulls the car around. Then you just kind of hope you’re set the right way!

“I know a lot of people talk about, like, looking at the trees and stuff. I think that’s better for lower-category cars, but we’re just going too fast to have any sightline through there.

“It’s really about repetition and understanding where you need to place the car and how it needs to look to get through the Corkscrew.”

Herta also expressed excitement about what’s to come at the next IndyCar round at Mid-Ohio, when IndyCar adds hybrid technology to the 2.2-liter V6 twin-turbo formula that has existed since 2012.

“It is exciting to have a little bit of a change with the hybrid technology,” he remarked. “I know a lot of people are excited about it from the engine manufacturer’s side, because it’s a new challenge for everybody. And definitely for the driver’s side, it seems more challenging, as well.

“I think how the regen has an effect on the balance of the race car under braking, under lifting [the throttle], will change. It will change throughout a stint. It’s going to be a little bit different.

“I don’t think you’ll see like a massive shake-up sort of thing. I think you will see maybe some guys take a little bit longer, or rather teams taking a little bit longer getting the setup right. It might change some things slightly. I know from the driving side, it will make it a lot busier inside the car and a lot more stuff to do for us.”

Story originally appeared on Racer