Justin Wilson escaped unhurt after crashing heavily during testing at the Kentucky Speedway for the forthcoming Meijer Indy 300 – but his Newman/Haas/Lanigan team is fast running out of cars for its drivers.
Wilson ran the test at the 1.5 mile oval using a chassis that he had been hoping to reserve for street circuits, after his other car had been pressed into service by team-mate Graham Rahal.
The team has just three cars for its two drivers, and Rahal’s only machine was still too badly damaged to be used following the battering it took at the last race in Edmonton where he was hit twice.
Wilson had successfully completed an installation run in the car and returned to the pits to analyse the data. But near the end of his first proper testing run he lost control and hit the wall at turn two.
He said: “I had run about eight or nine laps and was just up to speed and was in the middle of turns 1 and 2 and suddenly I felt the car straightening out. It no longer went where I was steering. I’m not sure what broke, but I had no steering and I was heading straight into the wall.”
The car suffered major damage and will take some considerable time to repair – a frustration for the team as its mid-season acquisition of a third chassis had been seen as a sign that it was starting to match the resources of its powerhouse IRL rivals following its transition from the Champ Car World Series.
Wilson said: “Obviously I’m disappointed because we didn’t even get any testing done and there is a lot of damage to my good race car that we had determined would be my road racing car.
“The plan was initially not to run it here or on the ovals in general and keep it as good as possible, but Graham’s only car was damaged in Edmonton so he had to use my oval car at the test while his is being repaired.
“The new car was already proving to be faster and I was enjoying it, but it didn’t last for long.”