The German hadn’t driven a single-seater since his stand-in appearance for Racing Point in the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix, when he finished eighth in place of a COVID-stricken Lance Stroll.
Hulkenberg, who remains an Aston Martin F1 reserve driver, told Autosport in the Circuit of the Americas paddock last weekend that the test was an opportunity to consider a future in IndyCar after fellow F1 refugee Romain Grosjean made a successful switch with Dale Coyne Racing this year.
Arrow McLaren SP has yet to commit to running a third car next year, and as such was not treating the test – open to rookies and to teams who have not yet confirmed their driver line-ups – as a chance to evaluate the 34-year-old.
However, McLaren boss Zak Brown remarked that Hulkenberg was ”towards the top of the list” of candidates for a future third car.
Hulkenberg turned 108 laps of the 2.38-mile Alabama track, with his best effort a 1m07.455s coming on his 59th lap 59.
The time put him just over 1 second off the fastest time set by prospective Indy Lights graduate David Malukas, driving DCR’s Vasser Sullivan entry that was campaigned in 2021 by Ed Jones.
Hulkenberg was slowest of the five cars in attendance at the test
Photo by: IndyCar
Malukas, who clocked a 1m06.398s time to top the times, is expected to join Takuma Sato at the team next year after being pipped to the Lights title by Kyle Kirkwood.
The 2012 IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay was second fastest in the #20 Ed Carpenter Racing machine.
After 12 years at Andretti Autosport, the 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner split with the team at the end of 2021 and is in the running to replace incumbent Conor Daly as the team’s road-and-street course driver, with team boss Ed Carpenter taking over for ovals.
Driving for Andretti, Devlin DeFrancesco outpaced the new Lights champion Kirkwood by 0.2s in their second test runs for the squad, both having turned laps at Sebring earlier this month.
DeFrancesco is expected to be announced as James Hinchcliffe’s replacement in Andretti’s #29 AA car, but Kirkwood’s immediate future is more unclear for now.
FIA Formula 3 race-winner Logan Sargeant was due to test for Foyt, but that was cancelled as the American’s deal to join the Williams Academy scheme was announced over the American Grand Prix weekend.