On Monday, the 31-year-old Californian stepped into an Indy car for the first time in 2024 and pounded laps around Phoenix Raceway.
The test was moved up by a day due to the impending threat of rain, which forced Larson to “get my mind right to prepare myself for that”.
The outing was put forth by Arrow McLaren, whom he will drive a fourth entry for in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” in partnership with Hendrick Motorsports, his NASCAR Cup Series team.
“Yeah, I thought it went smooth,” Larson said, during an IndyCar media availability on Tuesday.
“Got three or four hours in of laps, I think five sets of tires. Yeah, it was good to run through some things, get comfortable out there making laps, but get to do some pitstop stuff.”
And something even more encouraging for Larson happened on the final run of the day when he began searching for the limit.
“I almost spun out, so I’d like to think I did,” he said, smiling.
Kyle Larson, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, Phoenix testing
Photo by: Arrow McLaren SP
After doing several short runs and continuing to learn the adjustments, Larson was already feeling understeer in his Chevrolet-powered entry. Even so, he went out for an extended run that began on a different air pressure setting and was mentally prepared to gradually return to a “tighter” sensation. What he quickly felt instead was oversteer and tried to fix the balance with the in-car tools such as the weight jacker, but it was too late.
“Yeah, just got caught off guard a little bit,” Larson said.
“I had some warnings a few laps before. I went into IndyCar Turn 1 (and) got a little bit loose into the corner, got to the apex. As I was leaving the bottom, it just started to get sideways. Was able to catch it.
“Honestly, though, nothing about yesterday felt way different than what a Cup car, Next Gen car, feels like. That was good for me. I think the characteristics of the Indy car versus the Cup car, at least at Phoenix, felt very similar. You’re just going a lot faster in an Indy car.
“The moments happen a lot quicker. The edge of good versus not good feels a lot sharper. Yeah, it didn’t feel way, way different than what I was, I guess, used to. Even with those moments of getting sideways, it didn’t feel way different.”
The most encouraging element of that incident, though, was Larson recognized he is inching closer to extracting the maximum out of the car. Additionally, he thought there…