The three rungs of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder had three busy days of running at Barber Motorsports Park this weekend, with the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires running on Saturday, March 5 and the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda series out Sunday and Monday, March 6-7.
Given the slightly cooler conditions and limited sets of Cooper Tires on offer this “Warmup Weekend” test, these times might not be entirely representative of what we see when all three series come back in April, or what the series will do at St. Petersburg this weekend for the season-opening doubleheader.
Nonetheless, here’s the quick recaps and times:
On a run on new tires, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ Santiago Urrutia set the fastest time of the test at 1:12.4479 in the No. 55 Soul Red Mazda Dallara IL-15 Mazda. The Uruguayan edged Belardi Auto Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist and Team Pelfrey’s Scott Hargrove.
While Urrutia and Hargrove have past track experience, Rosenqvist loved his first day at the track: “This circuit is fantastic. I think it’s one of the top-five best circuits I’ve driven, it’s really nice and flowing. It’s a proper circuit – you’ll pay for it if you make a mistake. It’s very high speed and very physical, so it really tests the teams, the cars and the drivers.”
More is below:
Team Pelfrey laid down its intention of continuing its Pro Mazda title run with its trio of drivers at the first official test of 2016. Rookie Aaron Telitz measured up nicely to Weiron Tan and Pato O’Ward, the latter of whom made a last-minute cameo for testing in a third car.
“All three Team Pelfrey cars were quick. Going up against my two teammates, who have a great deal of experience in the Pro Mazda cars after having a full year under their belts, shows me where I can improve. We work really well as a team,” said Telitz, the Rice Lake, Wisconsin native who now resides in Minnesota.
If testing was any indication, the USF2000 field will be stacked. Between Anthony Martin (pictured) and Parker Thompson (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing), James Munro (Team Pelfrey), Ayla Agren (John Cummiskey Racing), Garth Rickards and Jordan Lloyd (Pabst Racing), there is no shortage of talent – and that’s just the top six runners. The top 12 were all within one second of the fastest time for the week.