Palou sees new Laguna track record within reach following test

MAZDA RACEWAY LAGUNA SECA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA - SEPTEMBER 09: #10: Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Friday September 09, 2022 in Monterey, United States of America. (Photo by Phillip Abbott / LAT Images)

Take a freshly-paved WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, drop two of the top NTT IndyCar Series drivers and teams onto the 2.2-mile road course for a Firestone tire test, and the byproduct from the four-hour test on Wednesday was monumental speed.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou and Arrow McLaren’s Felix Rosenqvist were tasked with evaluating a range of new tires for the series’ official partner to help Firestone finalize the rubber it will bring to the season finale, and according to the championship leader, Laguna Seca’s all-time IndyCar lap record of 1m07.7s by Helio Castroneves in 2000 could fall during the September 8-10 event.

“It was awesome. It was amazing,” Palou told RACER. “We were like three seconds faster than the pole last year, and it was only the two of us on the track with the track not rubbered in and the engines not at full beans. And the grip is amazing.

“Already last year, the track was quite physical because of the high speed

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