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IndyCar drivers give Watkins Glen rave reviews for upcoming return

It’s still two and a half months until the Verizon IndyCar Series returns to race at Watkins Glen International for the first time since 2010.

But drivers are already anticipating and getting excited about the Labor Day weekend event, which was relocated to WGI on incredibly short notice after the planned inaugural event scheduled for the same weekend in Boston was cancelled due to public protest.

IndyCar drivers checked in in a video, following a one-day Firestone tire test at Watkins Glen on Monday. The five drivers that tested were James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Alexander Rossi.

“From what we’ve heard, everyone’s going a whole lot faster and that’s going to be exciting for us, it’s going to be physical,” said Hinchcliffe. “It’s going to be massively challenging. “The last time we were there with the old car it was already a pretty quick track.”

“This car is already a ton faster (from cars back in 2010),” Hinchcliffe added. “Now you’ve repaved (the track) and added another couple seconds off the lap time. It’s going to be a hell of show.”

See the below visor cam INDYCAR assembled from Hinchcliffe.

Indy cars have raced only nine total times at WGI. CART raced there for just three years (1979-81), and then IndyCar was a staple there for six years (2005-2010).

Dixon won the first three IndyCar races at WGI (2005-07), followed by Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008), the late Justin Wilson (2009) and Will Power (2010).

“Watkins Glen just went through a resealing or repave,” Dixon said. “I expect it to be as fast as hell. It’s going to be extremely fast.

“But the cool thing with the Glen, you can trim out some, too, with the uphill climb to the back straight and the bus stop. There’s definitely some different configurations that you can run as far as aero.”

Drivers felt the day at the track was much more than just a test.

“For the most part it’s a tire test to figure out a few things there,” Dixon said. “But, yeah, really excited to get back to the Glen. Obviously a favorite of mine. The goal is to obviously have a great day testing and go back and try to contend for a race win.”

Added Pagenaud, “I was actually surprised. I heard that it’s really fast and really smooth. Probably the smoothest race track we’re going to go to. Certainly, that will direct the way we want to set the car up and it will be important to go to the gym to get ready for that one.”

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