Scott McLaughlin turned a mammoth 233 laps en route to setting the 12th quickest time in today’s IndyCar pre-season test at Texas Motor Speedway.
McLaughlin was debuting his Pennzoil livery at the test, which he will use in his rookie Indy 500 later this year.
The Kiwi’s best lap averaged at 218.16 mph, and he racked up the third-highest total of laps.
Arrow McLaren SP driver Pato O’Ward topped the 17-car test in conditions he described as ‘challenging’.
“It was windy, and man, it was cold, and that’s a lot different than it normally is,” O’Ward said.
O’Ward’s best lap was 1.4 mph quicker than second-place Alexander Rossi. However, he conceded that each car’s true performance is still unknown given the effect of the tow.
“It’s always looks good when you’re the fastest, but really, the first few positions were because of big tows,” he said.
The day ran smoothly until the final half-an-hour when Sebastien Bourdais clattered the wall at turn two.
The Frenchman still ended up with the tenth quickest lap.
While McLaughlin was the lowest placed Penske driver, he still finished ahead of several IndyCar Oval veterans, including Indy 500 winners Takuma Sato and Ryan Hunter-Reay.
“I felt really at home pretty quickly,” McLaughlin told Autosport after the test.
“We’d done quite a lot with driver-fit, trying to help me feel more comfortable in the car, so that just helps speed up the whole process too.”
McLaughlin spent most of the afternoon circulating in traffic, with Penske also dedicating time to pitstop practice.
Big guns Chip Ganassi were absent from the test session, with defending series champion Scott Dixon yet to return to the track since January.
Texas will host the first two Oval races of the season with a doubleheader on May 1-2.
Before that, the first race of the year will be at Barber Motorsport Park on April 18.