Jacob Abel, a two-year veteran of the Indy NXT series, got his first taste of IndyCar machinery on Monday with Dale Coyne Racing.
The 22-year-old drove around Sebring Raceway as long as the sunlight held out, getting as many laps in as he could on the bumpy circuit.
Abel called on his experiences climbing through the IndyCar feeder series ladder, and specifically referenced his past two seasons in Indy NXT as what made the transition into the top-level machinery a seamless one.
“Jacob Abel here, Indy NXT driver,” said Abel in a video on social media. “But today, driver of the #18 Dale Coyne Honda here at Sebring. Had a really good day today. Learned a ton. Had a very successful day.
“We used all of the sunlight that Florida gave us today. Got tons of laps in, with tons of sets of tires. Bunch of experience. I learned a ton today.
“I felt really prepared with all the experience that I had before this, all the different cars that I’ve driven. The GT3 car compared with the Indy NXT car and a few other things.
“I was able to leverage all that, all of the experience I’ve gained with Honda and with HPD to have a very successful day today.
“The transition between this and the Indy NXT car was very seamless, now especially with the new Firestone tires. They have many of the same characteristics.
“Definitely felt very well prepared after a couple years of Indy NXT for this test today, and I’m really excited to see what the future holds.”
Sitting one step below IndyCar, Indy NXT recently switched to using Firestone tires to match what the premiere series uses.
The similarities of the tire performance is just one of the many ways that drivers are able to properly prepare when they advance through the feeder series program.
Abel earned four podiums and finished fifth in last year’s Indy NXT championship, but his plans for the 2024 season have not yet been announced.