Indy Car Thermal Club Testing Report 2023

February 21, 2023Ray Milton
NTT Indy Car

February is here which means it is almost time for the start of the NTT IndyCar Series season opener. Bona fide preseason test sessions haven’t been a topic of focus since 2020 but this week IndyCar will have its first full-field open test of the preseason at Thermal Club. Thermal Club is a motorsports country club that provides 200+ wealthy car enthusiasts a professional grade race track experience to test out the limits of their cars. Membership fees start at $5 million making this club exclusive to the most wealthy in the culture.

The course features 17 turns in a 2.9 mile layout and will be a combination configuration of the North and South Palm circuits. It sits on a 470 acre lot and features some of the most luxurious homes in the area. Thermal is the first of three full field open testing events for the preseason.

Driver Colton Herta tried doing some YouTube research on Thermal recently but gave up stating, “It’s difficult to watch some of the onboards because it’s not really professional drivers, and they have like the cones set out on the track, where to turn in and where to get on the brakes, so it’s kind of irrelevant,” Herta said. “Yeah, I watched a little bit before I got too bored and turned away. But the track walk will be important. That’s going to be the biggest thing.”

Herta also said his main concern was having enough runoff area as drivers knock off the offseason rust because “you do tend to drop a wheel here and there, have a spin if you’re getting back in the car for the first time in a few months.”

Other drivers had mixed feelings with some saying the testing session wasn’t really relevant to the series while other expressed excitement with just getting back in the car. IndyCar limits the amount of pre season testing that can be conducted so for many this was just an opportunity to get out and get a feel in for the car as a baseline. Time will tell if this track develops into a driver favorite for testing and potentially racing one day but for now it will remain and idea with room for growth.