New Mazda-powered Dallara IL-15 logs miles on both the road course and oval at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Thirteen drivers representing six teams converged on Homestead-Miami Speedway last week for the second official test of the 2015 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season. The new Mazda-powered Dallara IL-15 was put through its paces with over 1870 laps turned on the 2.21-mile, 14-turn road course before testing moved to the 1.485-mile oval for another 1200 combined laps.
“There have been many miles logged over the past two days and it’s fun to watch teams learning their new chassis,” said Tony Cotman, Indy Lights Race Director and Dallara IL-15 project manager, after completion of the road course test. “Thanks to the high level of support from all our partners, the transition to the new package has been quite smooth. I can’t wait for the additional cars to join us here shortly to fill out the field. We do have a few items to figure out before the first race of the season but I’m confident they will be sorted. With such a high level of driver and team talent, I look forward to this year’s championship.”
European powerhouse team Carlin was quick to find its footing with Ed Jones, 19, of Dubai, topping three of the four sessions in the No. 11 entry. The 2013 Euro F3 Open champion was the only driver to break into the 1:13:00 range with a best lap of 1:13.7460 (107.884mph). The top 10 cars were separated by just over eight-tenths of a second.
Being the second test on a road course, it presented no real surprises. The real test would come when the teams moved to the oval for the first time.
“It was a good oval test day; all were pretty well behaved,” said Cotman. “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 [May 14].”
Juncos Racing rookies Kyle Kaiser and Spencer Pigot posted the quickest times of the test. Kaiser, 18, of Santa Clara, Calif., notched a best lap of 188.851mph (28.3081 seconds) narrowly missing the lap record set by the late Paul Dana of 189.745mph (28.1746) in 2004 by 0.1335sec.
“Today was a nice way to finish the week of testing,” said Kaiser, a Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires graduate who was also quickest at the Palm Beach International Raceway test earlier in the month. “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.”
The next series tests, in conjunction with the Cooper Tires Winterfest for Pro Mazda and USF2000, will take place at NOLA Motorsports Park on February 18/19 and Barber Motorsports Park on February 24/25.