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Hanley: Oval driving 'like nothing else'

  • Published on 21 Apr 2019 11:04
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  • By: Fergal Walsh

IndyCar rookie Ben Hanley says that his maiden experience of driving on ovals was "like nothing else" he has experienced.

The Briton took part in an oval rookie test on Friday at the Texas Motor Speedway along with Marcus Ericsson and Colton Herta. 

Hanley, who has contested two of the four races so far this season, says that watching onboard videos of ovals does nothing to prepare for the difficulty of actually doing it.

“(It’s) like nothing else,” he said. “You watch the onboards and stuff and you think, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah,' but then it's a completely different sport.

“It's good. I'm just taking to take it easy and slowly build up. The first time this morning was just for me to get comfortable in the car with the driver position and resting the head on the headrest and things like that.

"I'm just trying to take it really easy and slowly build up, but I'm enjoying it a lot. The biggest thing is relaxing into it.

"The first few laps, I was mega tense and really gripping the wheel. I kept telling myself to rest the head, but at first it's difficult.”

Ericsson, who is competing in his first IndyCar season after spending five years in Formula 1, says that it is all about learning to trust the car at such a high speed.

"One, the speed is so high and then, two, is that it's a different feel in the car,” Ericsson said. “With all the banking, you need to learn to trust the car. When you don't have any experience of it, you don't really have that trust.

"You need to build that up, and that's only coming from doing laps. You can talk so much about it, but it's actually laps that makes the difference.

“It's super important because the month of May is coming right now. My first oval race will be the [Indy] 500, so it's a big challenge.

"That's why it's good to come out here. There's only three cars out and it's pretty chill out and just a good environment to get up to speed.”

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