After a year away owing to track construction ahead of the 100th Indianapolis 500, the Chris Griffis Memorial Open Test for the full complement of Mazda Road to Indy series will be back at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Oct. 8-9, instead of at Circuit of The Americas as it was last November.
The test is always a good “first look” at who will be in next year’s Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda series, and the USF2000 component this test will be extra intriguing as the new Tatuus USF-17 car will be run by several teams in earnest.
The series release with more information is below:
All three levels of the acclaimed Mazda Road to Indy – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda – will converge on Indianapolis Motor Speedway on October 8/9 for the sixth annual Chris Griffis Memorial Open Test. The test is named in honor of Chris Griffis, a longtime member of the motorsports community who led the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports w/Curb-Agajanian Indy Lights organization before passing unexpectedly in September of 2011.
In addition to providing opportunities to “audition” new talent, gain a headstart on 2017 campaigns and earn valuable testing time on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course at the iconic Brickyard, the outing will be of special significance as teams will turn their first laps with the new Mazda-powered Tatuus USF-17.
A highly successful prototype testing program concluded July 1 with rave reviews by development drivers Joel Miller (Mazda sports car talent and USF2000 driver coach) and Matthew Brabham (a graduate of all three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy and USF2000/Pro Mazda champion who made his Verizon IndyCar Series debut in May). With a rolling chassis priced at $51,800, the Tatuus USF-17 will serve as the base car for the PM-18 to help control operational costs.
To date, 28 of the initial 30 chassis ordered have been purchased with additional orders pending. The first shipment of 15 cars will be delivered to teams in September. A list of current USF-17 teams can be found at http://usf2000.com/teams-drivers/usf-17-teams.
In addition to the USF-17, the test will be open to current USF2000 Championship and National Class entries.
“We are thrilled to be able to return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for our sixth Chris Griffis test,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “This is a key round in our regular season schedules and the perfect venue to see our USF-17 make its debut in the hands of our teams. The test is one of my favorite events as we watch our graduates take the next step on the ladder and welcome new talent to experience the Mazda Road to Indy.”
The Chris Griffis Memorial Open Test will also serve as a “rewards” program in USF2000 for two finalists in the Mazda Road to Indy and MAXSpeed Group Driver Advancement Program. Entering its third year, the partnership provides the opportunity for karters to sample the next step in their career. In addition, an alliance with the Australian Formula Ford Series established in 2014 will see its champion participate in the two-day test.
Registration information for the Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy Open Test will be available on the respective series’ websites in the coming weeks as well as a detailed schedule. Live Timing and Scoring will be available throughout the test.