Ryan Norman has patiently stood by as Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires rivals and teammates received their shot testing a car in the NTT IndyCar Series.
Now, it’s his turn.
In his third Indy Lights season, the 21-year-old Ohio native was scheduled to step up with current team Andretti Autosport to test a Dallara IR-12 at his home track, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Tuesday.
The opportunity couldn’t come at a more ideal time for Norman, fresh off his first win of the season – and second of his Indy Lights career – Saturday at Road America.
“Definitely this is a momentum sport, so after this win I'm really eager to get into the Indy car,” said Norman, who also finished runner-up Sunday in the second race of the Indy Lights doubleheader.
“I want to thank Andretti Autosport for putting me in a car and giving me that chance. I'm going to give it my all during the test and use this momentum to move forward, and we'll see what this test transpires into.”
While the challenge is as daunting and satisfying as they come, Norman has done his homework and taken advice from former teammates Patricio O’Ward and Colton Herta. The duo finished 1-2 in the 2018 Indy Lights championship before stepping up to the NTT IndyCar Series this season.
“I've been talking to them on how they transitioned into (the NTT) IndyCar (Series),” said Norman, who currently sits fourth in the Indy Lights championship. “I spent a couple of days at the Andretti shop getting my seat fit and everything, talking to engineers.”
He has also spent time on the timing stands of Andretti’s NTT IndyCar Series entries, including Sunday’s REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR, getting a feel for how the team operates.
“I think it's going to be a pretty good transition,” Norman added. “I'm definitely prepared for it.”
For comparison, the Indy Lights car carries a 2-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine that produces about 450 horsepower. The NTT IndyCar Series car uses a 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 with some 700 horsepower.
Herta and O’Ward alerted Norman of the biggest differences between the cars.
“They said that the power is a little bit smoother,” Norman said. “The Indy Lights turbo kicks in pretty hard. So they said, even though (the Indy car is) a more-horsepower car, it does seem a little smoother and easier to drive. The tires are bigger, the suspension is a little different.
“You're able to ride the curbs a little bit more in (the Indy) car. I'm just really excited to get my first laps in. It's going to be a fun first couple of laps. I'm going to have a big smile on my face.”
The private test at Mid-Ohio is also expected to include Herta testing for Harding Steinbrenner Racing as well as Chevrolet’s nine full-season cars since it had a test two weeks ago at Road America canceled by poor weather. The NTT IndyCar Series races at the Lexington, Ohio, road course on July 28 in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.
Meanwhile, three NTT IndyCar Series rookies are scheduled to test Tuesday at Iowa Speedway. Marcus Ericsson (Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports), Santino Ferrucci (Dale Coyne Racing) and Felix Rosenqvist (Chip Ganassi Racing) plan to turn their first laps on the 0.894-mile oval in advance of the Iowa Corn 300 on July 20.