Mike Conway said that a day in a Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car during the IZOD IndyCar Series Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park was a good start of preparation for the 39th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
The race, which Conway won in 2011 with Andretti Autosport, will be his first in the IZOD IndyCar Series this season. Conway, 29, will drive the Honda-powered No. 17 Blue eCigs car as a teammate to Graham Rahal and James Jakes.
“There will obviously be people who are race ready having competed in the first two events, but I have been thinking about Long Beach since the start of the year,” said Conway, who competed last weekend in a World Endurance Championship race at Silverstone. “I don’t feel like I am rusty. I felt at home straight away in the car (at Barber) and that was the main thing. I felt comfortable.
“I have been doing laps of Long Beach in my head for the last few months so I feel like I am in tune that way.”
Conway will have two practice sessions on April 19 plus a third 45-minute session on April 20 to dial in the car on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn street circuit before the three rounds of qualifications.
“Long Beach has got its own unique corners to it so it’s not the same setup you would run at St. Pete,” added Conway, who will make his fifth start at Long Beach. “Even though it looks similar, the corners are quite different. You have different surfaces there as well. It’s quite a unique place but similar characteristics in terms of other street courses with big curbs, bumps and walls everywhere.
“Getting used to the new tires Firestone is using this year and getting myself up to speed as soon as possible shouldn’t take long. With all the little things you miss with setups here and there and key areas, I just have to quickly make changes to get up to speed as quick as possible. But l feel ready.”