Romain Grosjean is relishing the chance to make his oval debut this weekend during the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at Gateway Motorsports Park in Illinois.
While the Frenchman came across to IndyCar at the start of the 2021 season, this will be his first outing on an oval, having missed races at Texas and Indy.
Grosjean has excelled in his rookie campaign, securing two second place finishes, but admitted he only feels like a true rookie now, looking ahead to his first oval run.
“Next week I’m a rookie, a proper rookie,” Grosjean said.
“I’ve been named a rookie all year long. I don’t feel like one. Next week I am one. I just want to gradually go for it, improve myself, learn about it.”
The Dale Coyne Racing man tested for the first time on an oval last month and will race on Saturday with his family’s permission.
Looking back on his test, Grosjean explained how different a skill it required compared to racing on road courses.
“There was so much to learn,” he recalled. “It’s so different from every type of racing I’ve done before.
“It’s a weird one. The car drives itself. People are telling you that’ll be fine, and you’re like, ‘what are they talking about, I drive my car!’ On the ovals I think the car does the work, and you control the speed, and it’s quite a bit of a strange feeling.
“I think it’s just going to be a great experience. I want to see how it’s going, everyone seems to be enjoying ovals there. I still prefer road courses, but I like braking late. I’m looking forward to it and seeing what we can get out of it.”