De Vries goes fastest in maiden IndyCar test

Date published: December 8 2021 - Henry Valantine

Nyck de Vries. Mercedes reserve driver. August 2021.

Nyck de Vries went quickest in his first run in IndyCar on Monday, in a pre-season test running alongside former Formula 1 drivers.

De Vries’ Formula E team-mate and fellow Mercedes reserve Stoffel Vandoorne drove for Arrow McLaren SP, with former Williams driver Jack Aitken also in attendance.

The Dutchman won the Formula 2 title in 2019, before becoming Formula E’s first ever World Champion earlier in the year. He was among the names rumoured to be in the running for a drive at Alfa Romeo or Williams next season, before Guanyu Zhou and Alex Albon were selected.

De Vries was three-tenths faster than former F2 rival Callum Ilott while testing for Meyer Shank Racing at Sebring, and the 26-year-old admitted he needs to get himself in the gym more often to cope with the machinery underneath him, if he takes a full-time seat in the series.

“First of all, I’d like to thank Meyer Shank Racing for the opportunity,” De Vries said to the official IndyCar website.

“They gave me a very warm welcome, and it was an absolute pleasure to see the kind of different racing scene and world in the U.S., which is significantly different than how we experienced it in Europe but very encouraging.

“We had a very good day, and I am overall very pleased with how it went. I felt fairly comfortable in the car and was up to pace, so good day. Let’s see what the future brings.

“A very cool car. Big, fun, fast, good tyres, but very heavy, very heavy. I think I need a few more gym hours to cope with that steering weight.”

Former McLaren driver Vandoorne is said to be in the running for a seat at Arrow McLaren SP next season, the sister outfit of the McLaren Formula 1 team.

He completed 134 laps around the short course at Sebring, and he said he’s keeping his options open for next season after driving a “beast” of a car on Monday.

 

“It was a positive day,” he said. “We managed to cover a lot of laps and get through a big testing program. I’m happy we managed to cover everything without any issues.

“I just want to say thanks to Arrow McLaren SP for giving me the opportunity, and it was a great experience for me to try out IndyCar. Let’s see what the future will bring.

“It’s a very big car, powerful and a heavy steering wheel. You’re really fighting the car a lot, so it’s really a beast of a car to hustle around a track.”