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Schmidt Peterson team makes strides after Sebring IndyCar test

Feb 6, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

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The Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team accomplished a fair bit in two days of testing at Sebring earlier this week. Engine development with Honda’s new twin-turbo V6, street course setup and further tire development were all areas the team attacked at the central Florida short course.

“The test was excellent,” said SPM general manager Rob Edwards. “We had a long list of things to get through from a chassis, engine and team perspective. I think we ticked just about every box that we wanted to tick. We saw a lot of progress in Simon Pagenaud’s car with the twin-turbo Honda engines, and Mikhail (Aleshin) continues to hang right in there with Simon which is incredibly important with a rookie to make sure both cars are competitive.”

Aleshin’s engineer Allen McDonald said the Russian rookie is already getting a good handle on the tires, while Pagenaud’s engineer Ben Bretzman called this test our “sort of dress rehearsal for the street course running” in 2014.

Pagenaud, whose development skills are as widely renowned in the paddock as his overall ability, praised Honda’s improvements in particular.

“HPD and the whole SPM team were on top of their game,” he said. “We’ve made major improvements on the engine and it really is a huge plus. I can only congratulate Honda on the job they’ve been doing over the winter.”

Also of note, the team confirmed Aleshin will race with car No. 7, a number he has experience with in Europe. The No. 7 SMP Racing-backed entry shifts from the No. 55, which Tristan Vautier raced with in 2013.

Pagenaud’s No. 77 tested in the same black, blue and white livery at Sebring, as the commercial partner on that car is still to be determined.

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