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Winslow impresses in Sebring Indy Lights test

James Winslow is hoping to conclude a deal to race in this year's Firestone Indy Lights Series after impressing on his maiden test outing at Sebring.
James Winslow looks set to return to US open-wheel racing in 2010, after impressing on his debut in the Firestone Indy Lights Series at Sebring.

The Briton, who spent a part-season in the 2009 Atlantic Championship before rounding out the year with an impressive maiden outing in Australia's Fujitsu V8 Supercar series, joined Indy Lights frontrunner Sam Schmidt Motorsport for a test at the Florida airfield circuit and proved quick 'straight out of the box', comparing favourably to team-mates Jean-Karl Vernay, Pippa Mann and Phillip Major.

Running two half days, Winslow enjoyed and endured the extreme of conditions, with rain on day two replacing the good weather that accompanied his first day in the Dallara, but proved quick throughout. Despite having his first ever run in an Indy Lights car, the multiple F3 and Renault V6 champion took just two sessions to be lapping right on the pace of more seasoned championship veterans, and believes he could have gone faster had he had the chance to run new tyres.

“I was really happy to be as quick as anyone - and possibly quicker – but it's a shame that I didn't get a new tyre run,” Winslow commented, “The team have tested at least four times before this, but it was my debut in an Indy Lights car and I actually went P1 on old rubber. We were going to go out on new tyres towards the end of the session, but I never got a proper run because of red flags.”

Although the second day of the test proved frustrating, as wet and windy conditions meant that everyone lapped more slowly, the Briton revealed that he had immediately felt at home behind the wheel of the 420hp 3.5-litre Dallara, comparing it favourably to the Renault V6 machine with which he claimed a third successive international title in 2007.

“I loved the cars and the style,” he enthused, “I got on the pace as quickly as I did because the car has the exact same driving style as the Renault V6, and I felt comfortable from the first few laps.”

Despite having opportunities in V8 Supercars after his impressive showing at Sydney's Homebush Park last December, Winslow's Sebring performance underpinned his decision to concentrate on open-wheel racing in the USA and another attempt at making the top flight after coming close to a Champ Car seat two years ago. He is currently in talks with two of the series' leading teams and hopes to be able to announce a deal before too long.

“The goal is IndyCar,” he confirmed, “I had an offer to do V8s this year, but I want to give IndyCar one more shot. I'll be on the Firestone Indy Lights grid in 2010, and we're just working through the details. I can't reveal which team I'll be with just yet, but I'm close to a deal. Sam Schmidt Motorsport did a great job, and it was great to be in such a good team, which does things right.”

Winslow hopes to be contest the entire 2010 campaign, running across the full range of circuits that the Indy Lights series races and introducing another new discipline to his already wide repertoire.

“Obviously, I already know about racing on road courses and street circuits, but I can't wait to get on the ovals – the Indy 500 will be awesome!” the Briton concluded.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
James Winslow tests Firestone Indy Lights car at Sebring with Sam Schmidt Motorsport
Pit lane (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon spins during practice (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin slides into his machine prior to the evening Open Test session at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
The pylon at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin sits in his machine prior to practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin on course during practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin crosses the start/finish line during practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin receives a handshake before his qualification attempt for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest.  (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates with his daughter Mikaella after winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest.  (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest. (Photo by Gregg Ellman/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves celebrates winning pole position for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves celebrates winning pole position for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves celebrates winning pole position for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves celebrates winning pole position for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves celebrates winning pole position for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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Racy

March 07, 2010 6:29 PM
Last Edited 1636 days ago

Good luck on the fans since Directv and Comcast cannot agree to a TV package. Indy has lost one third of it's viewing with no end in site with a Bullriding excetutive running things. I will get to see five races this year unless ABC drops off Direct as well. Aint life a drag at times?

Andy Bernstein - Unregistered

March 06, 2010 11:15 PM

Will there be more than one American competing in the top U.S. open wheel feeder series? Will J.R. Hildebrand, last year's Indy Lights champ, get a ride anywhere this year? Best of luck to this lad, and I hope he has many fans and investors.



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