Grosjean set to make IndyCar oval test debut

Date published: July 23 2021 - Jamie Woodhouse

Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean is set to race on an oval, with plans in place for him to contest the Bommarito Automotive Group 500.

Grosjean left Formula 1 at the conclusion of the 2020 season, although he had been ruled out of the final two rounds after a terrifying crash at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Frenchman now calls IndyCar his home, although his deal with Dale Coyne Racing and Rick Ware Racing did not put him on the entry list for the Indy500 or either round at the Texas Motor Speedway, for he did not wish to put his family through the stress of seeing him race on an oval track not long after his Bahrain accident.

He had spoken previously about a fear of ovals, but Grosjean is set to tackle the Gateway (World Wide Technology Raceway), with the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 scheduled for August 20-21.

Grosjean took to social media to confirm he was completing his first simulator session on an oval.

Now, a test awaits at the World Wide Technology Raceway on July 27, with Dale Coyne Racing and Rick Ware Racing looking to field a three-car entry including Grosjean in the #51 car for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500.

“We’re going to test with Romain at Gateway on July 27 because we have every intention of doing the race there next month,” Dale Coyne, co-owner of the team, told Motorsport.com.

“It will be a good test there because there will be quite a few cars there, so we’ll have a chance for him to run alone and then as he gets more confident we can put him in traffic so he gets to learn what dirty air is really all about!

“It’s also a good test because it’s a day-and-night test – runs from mid-afternoon to 11 o’clock at night – so it will also give him a good experience of how a track evolves, the different downforce levels he’ll feel in hot conditions and night conditions.

“It should be a really good experience for a rookie.”

Grosjean already has a pole position and a podium to his name in IndyCar, both achieved at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis where he finished P2.

And Coyne confirmed there are many teams interested in the 35-year-old, but none more so than his.

“Lots of people have spoken to Romain but nothing’s decided on anyone’s part,” Coyne stated.

“He’s performed very well this year so it’s not a surprise he’s attracting attention, right? Same as other promising guys we’ve run in the past. So… you know, you expect that.

“But there’s nobody more interested in him than we are. He’s done a great job for us – super personality, really nice guy who’s just loved IndyCar from pretty much the moment he arrived.

“Romain’s wife was with us the other day and she said ‘I’ve never felt this way with another team. It feels like family’. That was good to hear.

“We’re not a ‘mom ’n’ pop’ operation, but there’s a feeling that some IndyCar teams – and in particular, us – give whereby the driver and his family do feel a part of it. It’s not just he arrives, drives the car and disappears.

“And that feeling works really well with some drivers. Maybe it doesn’t work with others.”