Indy Lights test at Sebring later this week features 12 cars

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The Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires series has a two-day test (Jan. 7-8) scheduled for later this week at Sebring International Raceway in Florida. IndyCar remains in a winter testing blackout until after the 8th; still, Lights running is at least some signs of life for the American open-wheel world in an otherwise dreary, long, frigid winter.

The 12 cars entered for the test match last year’s season-high set at Houston. It’s a promising sign to see this many cars already because chances are enough budgets will materialize for at least two or three more cars come the St. Petersburg season opener in late March.

As to who’ll be driving them, the seven confirmed driver/team combinations will all be in action. Those are:

  • Team Moore Racing: 2-Zack Meyer
  • Belardi Auto Racing: 4-Alex Baron
  • Fan Force United: 24-Scott Anderson
  • Andretti Autosport: 26-Zach Veach, 83-Matthew Brabham
  • Bryan Herta Autosport/Jeffrey Mark Motorsport: 28-Lloyd Read
  • Schmidt Peterson Motorsports: 42-Jack Harvey

The other five are extra cars from some of the above teams. Moore adds a second car for 19-year-old Englishman Raoul Owens, who has sponsorship for another season of European-level Formula Renault. Belardi’s second car will be driven by Gabby Chaves, who finished second in this year’s championship. Andretti adds a third car for 19-year-old Italian Vittorio Ghirelli, who has GP2, GP3, Formula Two, World Series by Renault and Auto GP experience. In the latter series, he won the 2013 championship.

Schmidt Peterson adds two extras for Colombian Juan Piedrahita, who has spent the last two years in Pro Mazda, and, intriguingly, for Luiz Razia, whose F1 hopes for Marussia were dashed before the start of last season. Razia is known to be exploring American options and tweeted over the weekend that he was in Indianapolis.

Ricciardo: Red Bull has ‘decent chance’ of Abu Dhabi F1 victory

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Daniel Ricciardo believes Red Bull stands a “decent chance” of signing off from the 2017 Formula 1 season with a victory in next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

After a slow start to the year, Red Bull made massive gains across the course of the season by developing its RB13 to end the season as front-runners, rivaling Mercedes and Ferrari for pace.

The Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi has a number of slow-speed sections that should suit the RB13 car, with Ricciardo optimistic about his chances of not only ending his podium drought at the track, but even winning the race.

“Yas Marina has actually been one of my favorite tracks over the years,” Ricciardo said in Red Bull’s pre-race preview.

“It’s been a bit like Suzuka for me though, a track that I’ve always enjoyed and gone well on but not quite reached the podium at. I broke that trend in Suzuka this year so hopefully I can do the same in Abu Dhabi.

“When you have so much time away from the car in the off season it helps to sign off with a strong result as it makes you feel like you really deserve a break.

“I think we should have a strong car in Abu Dhabi. I said I want another win before the season is out and I think we have a decent chance of achieving that.”

Red Bull has claimed three race wins through 2017, with Ricciardo’s victory in Azerbaijan being followed up by successes for teammate Max Verstappen in Malaysia and Mexico.