Rinus van Kalmthout P3 Fast Friday Indy500 2023
Sato sets pace, VeeKay close behind

Sato sets fastest practice lap since 1996 at Fast Friday Indy 500

20 May 2023 at 13:42
Last update 20 May 2023 at 14:41

Practice four of the Indy500 on Fast Friday was topped by Takuma Sato of Chip Ganassi Racing. Rinus 'VeeKay' van Kalmthout made a lot of ground on Fast Friday, finishing P3, a tenth of a second behind Sato.

Sato fastest on Fast Friday of Indy500

Whereas Van Kalmthout finished the first two days of testing at P18 and P30, the Dutchman shot far ahead on Fast Friday. For the Fast Friday, the turbo pressure of the Indy cars is increased from 1.3 bar to 1.5 bar, allowing extra power to better prepare for qualifying for the 500 miles over the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Speeds went up and times went down on Friday, and Sato recorded the fastest time of the weekend with 38.3382 seconds. This gave the Japanese driver the fastest lap at a practice session of the event since 1996. His average speed was 234.753 which put him in ninth for fastest practice lap ever. Sato is an 'oval specialist' who only drives the oval circuits at Ganassi.

VeeKay surges forward with extra power

With the extra power from the boosted turbo pressure, some 100bhp extra, Van Kalmthout came pretty close to Sato. The Dutchman was 0.0952 seconds slower in his fastest lap than Sato. Marco Andretti was only five thousandths faster than Van Kalmthout.

Qualifying for the Indy500 will take place on Saturday after the final practice session. Over four laps, the qualifying simulation, Sato was also the fastest on Fast Friday. VeeKay had to concede slightly in that area, recording the fifth average speed of 232.898 mph (374.8 km/h). Marcus Ericsson, Josef Newgarden and Will Power were all quicker.