As he prepares for the upcoming 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series, Alex Tagliani will test the Team Barracuda Networks Honda at Sebring International Raceway, Florida on Thursday December 13. For Tagliani and Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA), this will be a change from last season when they missed the pre-season sessions altogether because of the lack of availability of Lotus engines. One year later, and following Tagliani’s on-track performance with Honda engines, which to the team switched partway through the 2012 season, Team BHA is high on the IndyCar engine suppliers’ lists.
“It’s nice to know that we’ll be starting the upcoming season on the same level as our opponents because the team felt kind of cheated at the conclusion of the year,” Tagliani said. “Last season, teams powered by Honda and Chevrolet engines were so much further ahead of us when Bryan Herta Autosport showed up for the 2012 IndyCar Series opening round at St. Petersburg, that it made no sense whatsoever.
It was a painful start to the season, but by the end of the year BHA was up to the level of the other teams. However it was too little, too late. We immediately became very competitive after our car received the Honda engine for round five at Indianapolis. Then, with 20 laps to go at the season finale in Fontana, California, I was leading the race when we encountered mechanical problems. It was a heartbreaking retirement for the whole team which was looking at a top-10 driver finish in the standings. It was a tough moment because we were doing so well on track and we didn’t even have the chance to test prior to the event. Looking forward to 2013, the team is very confident that we can challenge for the championship in the overall standings, or in one of the oval track or road course championships.”
Using the Lotus engine at the start of the 2012 season, Brian Herta Autosport recorded three retirements in the first three races due to engine problems. They decided not to enter the Brazilian race because it was felt that nothing useful would come of it. At that point, Tagliani stood 28th in the driver standings. His hopes of finishing the year in the top-10 came to an end after his Honda-powered racecar suffered two key DNFs in the second half of the schedule. Of the teams that switched from Lotus to Honda, BHA was the only one to qualify in the top five on a regular basis, a fact that drew the praise of Honda engineers.
During the two-and-a-half month off-season following the Fontana race, Tag undertook six consecutive weeks of intensive physical training. He then participated in the Montreal Supermotocross Side-by-Side Off-Road race which was held at the end of the month of September at Olympic Stadium.
Alex Tagliani and the Bryan Herta Autosport Barracuda Networks team, will be on track at Sebring at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday December 13, for its first test session prior to the 2013 season. Tagliani and his team will be able to compare their first on-track performances against those of top contenders Team Penske, Andretti Autosport, Chip Ganassi Racing, Panther Racing and others.