There’s not been much in the way of announcements this past week from the Mazda Road to Indy teams and series, but there has been a lot of testing! Winning top prize for “Most Grueling Testing Program” is Juncos Racing which took their four-driver team on a three-week boot camp tour, testing at three very different tracks in three consecutive weeks. Not only does the non-stop testing give the engineers a lot of data and the drivers a lot of seat time, but it also, and more importantly, gives the drivers and crew the opportunity to develop better communication and camaraderie. Little things often make the difference between an occasional race-winner and a champion. Sounds like Juncos is looking to put up a strong defense of their 2010 Star Mazda Championship title.
Right now, Stefan Wilson is testing a Firestone Indy Lights car for Andretti Autosport down at Phoenix International Raceway along with Belardi Auto Racing and Anders Krohn. We hope to hear a report on the test early next week. Apparently Stefan is thrilled with his car saying via twitter, “Loving this car, looking forward to testing tomorrow. http://plixi.com/p/74811715“.
In a rather surprising move, Josef Newgarden is also testing for Andretti Autosport in spite of being invited to the FIA Young Driver Excellence Academy after his successful year in the GP3 series. Derek Daly had a great conversation with Newgarden and Newman-Haas hopeful James Hincliffe on his show “The Compete Champion” aired on Race Fan Radio. If you missed it, be sure to head over to RaceFanRadio.com and click on the “Multimedia On Demand” tab. We also are waiting to hear whom the now separate AFS Racing will be selecting for their 2011 Firestone Indy Lights efforts.
Earlier this week, we had a great chat with Belardi Auto Racing’s Anders Krohn where he tells the story of how he came up through karting in Norway and Northern Europe and eventually found his way here in the US competing in F2000 and then Star Mazda. He’s also testing wtih Belardi Auto Racing this weekend down in Phoenix. I hope you’ll enjoy listening to our interview with Anders as much as I enjoyed recording it. We hope to be talking with several other Mazda Road to Indy drivers and teams in the near future, so keep and eye out for more Inside The Helmet features in the coming weeks.
Jensen MotorSport is gearing up for their 2011 Firestone Indy Lights effort and tested David Ostella at Sebring International Raceway on the short course. He and the team felt that the test was very successful, putting up very competitive times. This was Ostella’s first on-track experience with the more powerful Firestone Indy Lights cars. Last season, he contested the Star Mazda Championship with AIM Autosports.
Lastly, AcceleRace Motorsports is gearing up for a full-on New Media blitz for the 2011 season. They’ve recently made a major update to their website with a design focused on fan communication and interaction. I think you’ll see more and more teams looking toward this type of fan-interaction model as more and more fans look for their favorite teams and drivers on sites like Facebook and Twitter.
“Increasing communication to our AcceleRace fan base and the fans of open wheel racing has always been on our list of goals. We recently added two new types of digital communication that we are really excited about. First, we launched a totally new website which will not only carry race news and results, but offers some intriguing slide shows and videos. We plan to expand it soon to offer even more.
“Communicating to the motorsports fanbase is a journey, not a destination. Bringing news and views from AcceleRace Motorsports as the team competes in Junior Formula Racing in 2011 enables us to educate and entertain our dedicated followers and motorsports fans alike. We are excited about the 2011 season and will be expanding our use of social media to bring e-communications to our favorite formula racing fanatics. Additionally, motorsports fans can follow updates from AcceleRace Motorsports by friending us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!” — ML Padden, Team Principal and Marketing Director
We here at OpenPaddock.net, being fans first, are very happy to see AcceleRace Motorsports take this kind of initiative. Can we ever get too much interaction, news, and inside info on our favorite teams? I didn’t think so. Well done, AcceleRace!