times as long as a Lights race and you
have to think about conserving tires,
saving fuel, pit strategy – all the things
you never have to think about in the
junior series. It made the task of driving
an IndyCar a lot more daunting.”
“That makes sense,” Enerson replies.
“Going from USF2000 to Indy Lights, it was
a big change going from a 30-minute sprint
to an hour-long race, where you definitely
have to conserve your tires a bit.”
Both drivers have driven the old Indy
Lights car and the new one; Hinch went
from old Lights car to previous-gen IndyCar,
and says there was pretty good correlation.
Now with both series using newer
technology, the correlation is even more
true, he notes. For Enerson, who recently
scored his best finish so far with a third at
Barber Motorsports Park, the older car
seemed harder and heavier to drive.
Enerson isn’t only dealing with a new
car, he’s also facing a lot of tracks he hasn’t
seen before. And in NOLA Motorsports
Park near New Orleans, there was a track
new to both drivers.
“What’s your process for learning a new
race track as fast as possible?” Enerson
wants to know from Hinch.
“That’s a skill that every driver has to
hone over their career,” the Canadian
IndyCar driver explains. “In every series,
“Even if there exists a simulator of the
track – in the case of NOLA, there isn’t –
you never know how accurate your
‘knowledge’ is compared to guys who’ve
got the knowledge from physically being
there. Even doing the track walk isn’t as
good. I can’t tell you the number of times
I’ve done a track walk, looked at a section
and thought, ‘Oh yeah, I bet we’re going
to come into here like this and approach
that corner like that.’ And then you
actually get out there in the car and find
that it’s completely different.
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“In IndyCar, all of a sudden
you’re covering distances
three times as long as an
Indy Lights race”
(MAIN) RC Enerson
Lucas Oil-backed Indy
Lights car in 2015. The
(RIGHT) aims to race
in the IndyCar Series.