Dillon Battistini put in a strong performance on his debut IndyCar test, impressing his Panther Racing crew with his pace around the Kentucky Speedway.
The rookie from Ewell in Surrey has won three times this Indy Lights season, including his first-ever oval race, and was promised a test in the senior car in June.
That was postponed, but he joined Panther’s IRL driver Vitor Meira testing the Brazilian’s No.4 car in preparation for next weekend’s Meijer Indy 300 at the 1.5 mile oval.
Meira drove the first and last sessions, setting a fastest lap of 24.500 seconds that compared well with times set by other teams. Battistini took the middle stint of testing, with a best time of 24.590 seconds.
He said: “It was a thrilling day for me. I am very pleased with my run. It felt great to finally get behind the wheel of an IndyCar and I’m happy to be able to have this opportunity to show what I can do.
“The car felt faster then what I am used to, but it didn’t feel quite as fast as I thought it would. It is much more physical to handle then my Indy Lights car, but I got used to that quickly.”
On its website, Panther Racing reports that Battistini exceeded the team’s expectations with his performance – and he made a good impression on Meira, too: “I was impressed with the way that Dillon drove the car. He adjusted quickly to it, which is not an easy thing to do, and was pretty fast.”
Battistini has been promised two full drives in the IRL this season, possibly including the exhibition race at Surfers Paradise in Australia, but so far there has been no official word from Panther Racing about whether that will still happen.