Tony Kanaan (left) talks with longtime engineer Eric Cowdin (right) during the Sebring test. (Photo: IndyCar.com)

(left) talks with longtime engineer Eric Cowdin (right) during the test. (Photo: .com)

Less than 48 hours after unveiling his bas relief image on the Borg-Warner Trophy at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Tony Kanaan started his on-the-job orientation with his new employer, , during a team test at Sebring International Raceway.

Despite joining a new team, there was familiarity for the Brazilian in his first on-track session. Longtime engineer, Eric Cowdin was on the pit stand as were drivers he considers friends. Kanaan was even familiar with the Chevrolet twin turbocharged engine that was affixed to the No. 8 NTT DATA car for the first time.

“It’s my first day on the job so it’s still a little weird,” said Kanaan, who announced in October that he was moving on from KV Racing Technology-SH Racing after three IZOD IndyCar Series seasons. “I’m excited, obviously. It’s a new challenge for me. I have a lot of things to learn as far as the way (the team) runs things here. I’m just enjoying it.”

Following the morning session on the 1.65-mile track, Kanaan joined new teammates and in an extended and animated debrief about the characteristic of the Dallara chassis with the 2.2-liter V-6 powerplant. Kanaan and Alex Tagliani, who was testing in the No. 10 car, brought a fresh perspective to the pit lane conversations with engineers, which prompted a smile from team managing director Mike Hull.

“In a way, it’s a good thing that Tony’s already driven a Chevrolet car because he doesn’t need to concentrate on the differences between that and a Honda product,” said Hull, noting the switch of engine manufacturers for 2014. “He can just concentrate on what we do as a team with the chassis. And it’s kind of an interesting comparison, or dynamic, of what we have going on today because we have the Honda history, which has been a really special time in our lives at Chip Ganassi Racing for many, many years, we have that going on.

“But with Tony we also have a fresh perspective on where Chip Ganassi stands in terms of how it creates an on-track product by comparison to where he’s been in the past. So it’s a big day for all of us here in terms of understanding how to make our product better.”

Kanaan, the 2004 IndyCar Series champion, said one of his initial goals is to add to the team’s database of perspectives.

“It’s a team that has been together for a long time and they’ve been very successful, so I’m actually trying to listen more than I’m talking,” he said. “I have some things that I think I can add to it, and I’m doing whatever I can to send the message across. If I can bring something extra, to improve what they have already, it’s great.”

Feedback is important to the development of the Chevrolet program, according to IndyCar Series program manager Chris Berube.

“We believe these things are partnerships, with all the Chevy teams,” he said. “This is our first chance to be at the track together, and it’s very much about building that relationship, the trackside relationship. We’ve had some time prior to today to get to know each other off the track since the end of the season, but we’re very excited to be here today and to have Chevy power in the Chip Ganassi Racing team camp.”

TESTING QUOTEBOOK:

MIKE HULL (Managing Director, Target Chip Ganassi Racing): (About first test with Chevrolet): “Whenever you enter into a new partnership you want to get off to a good start, and today is not necessarily the first day of this partnership because we’ve been working with Chevrolet since we made the announcement some time ago, but we’re happy to be on the race track with Chevrolet today. It’s not so much a comparison about where we’ve been, it’s about how we’re going to work moving forward with our new partner. That’s really the key for us, and what that is creating and opening up the communication streams that we had between our four drivers and our team itself in combination with the team of people at Chevrolet.”

(About Tony Kanaan): “Actually, in a way, it’s a good thing that Tony’s already driven a Chevrolet car because he doesn’t need to concentrate on the differences between that and a Honda product. He can just concentrate on what we do as a team with the chassis. And it’s kind of an interesting comparison, or dynamic, of what we have going on today because we have the Honda history, which has been a really special time in our lives at Chip Ganassi Racing for many, many years, we have that going on, but with Tony we also have a fresh perspective on where Chip Ganassi stands in terms of how it creates an on-track product by comparison to where he’s been in the past. So it’s a big day for all of us here in terms of understanding how to make our product better.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 8 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing): “I try to (bring a fresh perspective). It’s a team that, they’ve been together for a long time and they’ve been very successful, so I’m actually trying to listen more than I’m talking. I have some things that I think I can add to it, and I’m doing whatever I can to send the message across. Obviously, Eric (Cowdin, Kanaan’s engineer) and I, we’ve known each other for a long time. Chris Simmons was my second engineer at Andretti, with Eric, so it’s all familiar faces. If I can bring something extra, to improve what they have already, it’s great. So that’s what I’m trying to do. Still getting used to everything, it’s my first day on the job so it’s still a little weird.”

CHRIS BERUBE (Chevrolet Racing Program Manager, IndyCar Series): “We believe these things are partnerships, with all the Chevy teams. This is our first chance to be at the track together, and it’s very much about building that relationship, the trackside relationship. We’ve had some time prior to today to get to know each other off the track since the end of the season, but we’re very excited to be here today and to have Chevy power in the Chip Ganassi Racing team camp. So far so good today, and we’re anxious to hear their feedback.”

SCOTT DIXON (2013 IZOD IndyCar Series champion): “Today is more comparison stuff. Go over some of the late development things we had streaming through for the season, and obviously, the big compare between Chevy and Honda and see where we need to work and see what area are good. There are a lot of new relationships, so it’s good to get an early test in before Christmas and start working on relationships that we hope prosper in the new year.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing): “It’s good to be back in the car. It’s nice to be back at the race track and focusing on 2014. It’s our first chance to try the Chevy and it’s exciting. It’s exciting for us and it’s exciting for them to get a fresh perspective on things. It’s going to be really different. We have a lot of work for the day and it will give a direction of which way we need to head in the next few weeks before we really start preseason testing in January and February. We’re looking forward to getting a good baseline here and moving forward from there. (About working with Tony Kanaan): “It really is neat to have Tony on board. We’ve enjoyed getting to know each other, at least I have. We’ve had fun, partly at the engineers’ expense and partly on our own. It’s been good, and when we get in the car, the relationship will develop more.”

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