Verizon IndyCar Series rookie, Matt Brabham has ended a challenging opening day feeling confident of what lies ahead for the remainder of the Angie’s List Grand of Indianapolis this weekend.
The first session ended early with an issue to the left rear of the #61 PIRTEK Team Murray Chevrolet which saw the wheel come adrift. The team worked overtime to get the car back for the second session, which was held under threatening skies.
The team was working on building a setup into the #61, however Brabham’s second session was compromised by brake issues. The team cycled him through a number of braking changes to ensure his comfortability and optimal braking efficiency for the rest of the weekend.
Late in the session, the team made a front wing adjustment to the #61 and bolted a new set of Firestone Tires to the car and sent him out for a lap.
Despite the lack of running in a Verizon IndyCar Series race car, Brabham got within 0.9s of the fastest driver on track and then ended the session just 1.1 off the pace.
The team feels that with the feedback from Brabham tonight and more green flag running tomorrow, that it can improve markedly.
MATT BRABHAM – DRIVER #61 PIRTEK TEAM MURRAY CHEVROLET
“It was one of those days where we were working through a lot of things on a brand new car and finding the refining points. The guys have done a good job of bringing everything together and pushing it on.
“I’m getting more comfortable with every lap. I would consider it has been a good day, but it could have been better. In reality, we aren’t that far off.
“It is hard for new guys to jump in and be on the pace – I’m not complaining – to think I’m just over a second away when the guys I’m up against are so experienced shows great room for improvement. I still want to be up there and fighting and expect there’s a bit more to come tomorrow.”
On walking into the Speedway as a Verizon IndyCar Series Rookie for the first time…
“It was a very special moment this morning,” Brabham reflected. “It is so very cool to think I’m doing this.
“I’m not sure if (the fans) know who I am or not, but people are coming up to me and asking for my autograph and being very complimentary about our entire PIRTEK Team Murray program.
“The history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is just in the air from the moment you walk in. I have to keep pinching myself that this is reality.”
ANDY BROWN -ENGINEER, #61 PIRTEK TEAM MURRAY CHEVROLET
“It is a little bit frustrating to be fair. It was a new bit of equipment, but we weren’t able to give Matt what he needed – and that was pounding around doing laps. Once we did get it there, got him cycled into the program and gave him what he needed, he started taking chunks of time out.
“Matt was only a second off the pace of our sister car (Sebastien Bourdais – #11) – he was up the front of the pack (4th) and we were down the back. So there’s more to come and we’ll work with Matt to get everything right to move up the field come qualifying.”
BRETT MURRAY – TEAM OWNER – PIRTEK TEAM MURRAY
“I think Matt did an outstanding job all things considered. This morning’s issues cost us a lot of laps and the boys worked hard to get the brakes right during the second session.
“We need to work harder to allow Matt to show what he can really do. He’s got a good feel for the car and kept everyone motivated right throughout the day.
“For a kid of 22, he doing an amazing job to take all this in and still give us the feedback we need.
“We’ve blown the cobwebs out and now let’s concentrate on getting the job done from here.”
On walking into the Speedway as a Verizon IndyCar Series Team Owner for the first time
“It’s the greatest place in the world – we’ve worked so hard, we’ve gone through so many different scenarios and had so many different expectations, but come today it’s all different.
“There’s no more fluff any more, it is real and comes down to what we can do as a team.
“We have the experience around us at PIRTEK Team Murray to make the right ‘go fast’ tweaks, we’ve got the right kid in Matt Brabham behind the wheel and the right sponsor in this program in PIRTEK to make it happen.”
SCHEDULE – ANGIE’S LIST GRAND PRIX OF INDIANAPOLIS
(US TIME ET & AUSTRALIAN EASTERN – following day for Australia)
Friday, May 13
11:00am-11:45am (ET) | 1:00am-1:45am (AEST) – Practice 3 1:00pm-2:00pm (ET) – Autograph Session – IndyCar Fan Village 3:00pm-4:15pm (ET) | 5:00am-6:15am (AEST) – Qualifying Livestream:http://racecontrol.indycar.com
Saturday, May 14
11:30am-12:00pm (ET) | 1:30am-2:00am – Warmup
3:00pm (ET) – Driver Introductions
3:45pm (ET) | 5:45am (AEST) – Gentlemen, Start your Engines
3:50pm (ET) | 5:50am (AEST) – Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis (82 Laps)
Race Television Times:
ABC (US) 3:30pm (ET)
Fox Sports 501 (AU) 5:30am Sunday (AEST)
IndyCar Radio – SiriusXM – Sirius: 212; XM: 209
Course: Indianapolis Road Course
Length: 2.439 miles (3.925 km)
Turns: 14 – 9 right, 5 left, clockwise direction
Practice for the 100th Indianapolis 500 begins on Monday, May 16.