The season opening event on the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series schedule will be a weekend of celebrations for Dale Coyne Racing with RWR rookie Romain Grosjean. The Formula 1 veteran will be celebrating his 35th birthday on Saturday, he will also be making his first official IndyCar start on Sunday, but more importantly, this weekend will mark his return to racing 140 days following his fiery crash in Bahrain last November.
A veteran of 179 Formula 1 starts, Grosjean is kicking off his IndyCar rookie season at Barber Motorsports Park April 17 – 18. While Grosjean is new to the series, he did have the opportunity to test at the 2.38-mile, 17-turn permanent road course during pre-season testing earlier this year. The test was also his first time aboard his #51 Nurtec ODT Honda powered machine.
Despite having the chance to learn the track in February, the Dale Coyne Racing with RWR driver admits that there’s still a lot to learn heading into his first race weekend.
“It’s a big thing for me to get to do my first race in the NTT IndyCar Series, for a few reasons. It’s the first one, and it’s a super exciting new challenge for me with Dale Coyne Racing with RWR but also because it’s my first race back 140 days after my big crash in Bahrain and obviously getting back into racing means a lot to me so there’s a lot of excitement ahead of race one,” expressed Grosjean.
“Obviously, there’s still a lot to learn, so for me the target this weekend is to learn as much as I can about IndyCar. How you race, how you manage your tires, what’s the fuel situation like. We’ve only had three days of testing and we didn’t use the option tire so qualifying will be a challenge. But I’m very open-minded about it and I think my engineer Olivier (Boisson) will tell me as much as he can, and I’ll obviously ask as much information as I can ahead of time. It should be a very exciting first race and I can’t wait until Sunday to see how it goes.”
Grosjean will be on track for the first official practice session of the season on Saturday, April 17 at 10:00am local time (11am ET). A second practice session will follow in the afternoon at 1:40pm local time (2:40pm ET) ahead of qualifying at 4:55pm local time (5:55pm ET). Drivers will also get a 30-minute warm up on Sunday, April 18 at 10:30am local time (11:30am ET).
The 90-lap season opening round will go green at 2:42pm Local time (3:42pm ET) on Sunday, April 18 and will be broadcast live on NBC starting at 2:00pm local time (3:00pm ET).
All practice sessions and qualifying will be streamed live on Peacock with qualifying also being broadcast on tape delay on NBCSN Saturday, April 17 at 9:00pm ET.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!