31 January 2015
Lights: Juncos pair pace oval test
Kyle Kaiser and Spencer Pigot top the timesheets as Indy Lights preparations move onto the Homestead-Miami oval.
Kyle Kaiser and Spencer Pigot topped the Mazda Road to Indy speed charts as the first official Indy Lights test of 2015 concluded to rave reviews on the Homestead-Miami Speedway oval.
Eleven drivers combined for a total of 1200 incident-free laps aboard the new Mazda-powered Dallara IL-15 as teams worked on initial set-ups in preparation for three oval races on the 2015 schedule. Despite three oval racing novices taking part, the field was covered by just nine-tenths of a second.
"It was a good oval test day, [and] all were pretty well behaved," noted Tony Cotman, Indy Lights race director and Dallara IL-15 project manager, "I'm sure there are a few surprises on the timesheet, but that's what we like.
“It's interesting to watch teams approaching things from different perspectives. The speeds were quick especially considering how much downforce teams were running. Running in traffic and racecraft is a totally different challenge so there's a whole lot more to learn. Hopefully they are tuned up for the next oval test at Chicagoland [on 14 May]."
Juncos Racing rookies Kyle Kaiser and Spencer Pigot posted the quickest times of the test, with 18-year old Kaiser notching a best lap of 188.851mph, narrowly missing the lap record set by the late Paul Dana of 189.745 mph in 2004.
"Today was a nice way to finish the week of testing," the Pro Mazda graduate - who was also quickest at the Palm Beach International Raceway test earlier in the month – commented, "The team continues to demonstrate their ability to adapt to this new car. It's still early and there is a lot of work ahead, but we are making steady progress.
“It was my first time driving on an oval at this speed and the team gave me the perfect car to make the transition seamless. I'm looking forward to NOLA in a few weeks to continue our development."
Pigot was just over a tenth off Kaiser's time, with a best lap of 187.852 mph, but the 21-year old echoed his team-mate's sentiments.
"We had a really productive week of testing at Homestead," the 2014 Pro Mazda champion admitted, “We had lots of things we wanted to try both on the road course and the oval. The car was great on both tracks and I can't wait to get back in it and continue our test programme."
Scott Anderson of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports ended the day third quickest, followed by Belardi Auto Racing team-mates Juan Piedrahita - who had topped the timesheets for most of the day - and Felix Serralles.
"The team gave me an awesome car today, very fast and very secure," Piedrahita reported, "The Dallara IL-15 handles very well on the oval and I can't wait to drive it again. I'm very pleased with my team and I am sure we will have a great year. "
Andretti Autosport's Shelby Blackstock, who impressed with the second fastest time in road course testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway earlier in the week, claimed sixth on the oval charts, followed by RC Enerson of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. Oval newcomers Ed Jones and Max Chilton, both of series newcomer Carlin, and Ethan Ringel (Schmidt Peterson) were separated by Indy Lights vice champion Jack Harvey, who is doing the bulk of the heavy-lifting development work for Schmidt Peterson early in the year.
The next series test, in conjunction with the Cooper Tires Winterfest for Pro Mazda and USF2000, will take place at NOLA Motorsports Park (18-19 February) and Barber Motorsports Park (24-25 February).
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