Martin Plowman understands the importance of the Firestone Indy Lights Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park on 21 March, aware that it's his last chance to prepare for the season-opening double-header at the Grand Prix of St Petersburg.
“I wish I could have another test day before St Petersburg, but this is it for us,” the Panther Racing driver said, “We've got to get the most out of the test that we can.”
Panther Racing's two-car tandem of Plowman and fellow Briton Pippa Mann will be joined by seven cars from six other teams for the series' first-ever visit to Barber Motorsports Park, including JR Hildebrand and Sebastian Saavedra for AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing, Team Moore Racing's Andrew Prendeville, Mario Romancini of RLR/Andersen Racing, Rodrigo Barbosa (ELFF Racing), Daniel Herrington (Bryan Herta Autosport) and James Davison (Vision Racing).
“Visiting Barber Motorsports Park is very beneficial to Firestone Indy Lights and I hope it will be to the teams participating in the test,” said series executive director Roger Bailey, “It's a chance to make a good impression in a place we've never been, while allowing our teams the opportunity to gain information that can help them later in the season.”
While nearly half the teams that will field entries this season will be testing on the 17-turn, 2.38-mile road course, some have opted to miss the test and will concentrate on street-course set-ups with private pre-season tests in advance of the St Petersburg weekend.
“I've never been to Barber, and I have nothing against the track,” said team owner Brian Stewart, who has opted to take his team to Sebring International Raceway instead. “But I know Sebring, and I know what I have to do there to prepare my guys for St Pete.”