The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is fast becoming one of the pilots' most favourite venues for an Air Race. Here the pilots reveal what they've learned on day one...
"Part of our preparation was to use the data from last year. We have to be careful of the wind, last year it changed drastically on Race Day, but this year it looks like the wind will continue to blow the same way. Of course when you're in the same location multiple times you can use the data, but you have to be aware of the changing factors."
"The track was basically exactly as we expected it would be. We took the delays in our stride, just super relaxed and waiting for it. The times don't reflect how happy we were. We were pretty happy with the results because we had a few little things we were working on. We've experimented and we'll look at pulling it all together on the next session. We did stuff that we know is not the fastest line just to get a bit more data with the aircraft in Free Practice. So from here we've got a little bit more testing but we think we'll be able to put down a pretty good time."
"I felt really comfortable today. We did a lot of nice preparation on the track, and it worked. We know what we have to do, and the whole idea is to try to keep stealing tenths of seconds. That's where we're at – we know what the line is, now we have to see how aggressive we can be."
"I like the handling and flight characteristics of my raceplane with the winglets on. I think we can push a little harder, I think we can shave 0.6-7s off our time."
"Good to be back in Indy, that's for sure. Nice track. A bit rainy when I was flying, but the weather conditions are part of the game. Good time overall – not a good ranking, but it was only Free Practice. I think we can be competitive, we just have to work out what's going on and where, which we almost know. So it will just be about pushing at the maximum this weekend."
"We had an issue with the aeroplane, with the trim. It didn't work out that good for me, but it's taken care of so hopefully the next one will go better. We think – we hope – that we know where to fix things in order to be fast. We're a little bit off the pace right now."
François Le Vot
"The track was exactly how I expected it. I like this track, I remember last year that it wasn't a difficult track for me and I had a lot of fun in it. This year I practised mentally before coming and I found a track that I had flown in my head for many sessions. We think we've done well for this flight. What will be difficult is for us to reduce the timings. For the last three races I seem to fly my best time from the very beginning, I'm happy but there is a lot of work."
"It went really well. Optimistic and keen – the times look good. I'm happy. I love being in the States, I love being in Indianapolis. Some of the biggest memories I have are here, because I got the World Championship here in 2016 and I've been on the podium here twice, placing one and two. So we're trying to repeat it this year, of course. You gain a little bit of time with flying very smooth. I think I found that already, and it has to be a mix between aggressiveness and smoothness. The Vertical Turning Manoeuvre is crucial. So you have to go on the limit. The standing start is tricky, of course. Everything has to be perfect with the engine setup. It's always bit of a lottery on exactly how you get them set, but I think I found it, and I hope I can have a good performance on the weekend."
"I'm happy with the flight. The first flight wasn't bad, but we knew we could improve in some places, especially in the Vertical Turn. I was pushing the limits in the second session, but this is where we need to push those limits in Free Practice. The track is nice and we all know it, so it's fun to push it. And when we're in the hold the scenery is fantastic seeing the whole of the racetrack, it's special."
"I love the track here. I don't like the static start, but I like the track. The conditions keep changing, which is good. We're hoping for some difficult conditions over race weekend. When it's nice and choppy out there it's easy for me. When it's sunny and smooth, everyone can fly well."
"I'm pretty happy with that second Free Practice session, it felt good out there and we fixed a few of the things that I wasn't happy with in the first run and I'm starting to feel comfortable. In Austria I had a pretty good setup for the standing start and that will obviously help over here, but it's a smaller track, which suits me. But we'll have to see. I felt right at home in my last run today."
"It wasn't too bad today. It's still not quite as quick as we would've liked to have been, but there's a few more things to try. I'm picking up a few too many penalties, the plan was to try and be as clean as we could so we need to put some thought into that. It's good to be back in Indy, it's an awesome racetrack and we'll be poring over the data tonight. It happens a lot quicker in my Edge than it did in the Extra last year. There's something to work on, we're not completely happy yet, but we'll get there."
"In the first flight I didn't feel comfortable in the track with the plane, and I was not really aggressive, maybe because I hadn't flown since the last race. In the second run I tried to be more aggressive, but I was slower. That's not a good idea! And I stalled at the VTM. It's not the right way to be too aggressive. I have to be a little bit more aggressive but not too much. As soon as you do a small mistake, this mistake can stay a long time in the flight and disturb the next few gates, so I have to avoid that. The second flight, I was more confident in the plane, but I was much more behind the plane, and I tried to go fast, but as we say en français, I over-flew, more than normal. That's not good."
"It's great to be back here. It's a beautiful track, and it has so much history related to motorsports, so it's a privilege to race at Indy. The second Free Practice was better. I haven't checked the data yet, but I was able to correct some mistakes from Free Practice 1, and the weather was way better than in the morning. So I'm happy, and let's see how the results are."