The season-opener for the Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear takes place this weekend on the Streets of St. Petersburg, but before we get to the race, there’s still some business to settle and shake out first. Drivers are still being added to the grid, and it looks like the field is shaping up quite nicely. Twenty-two drivers set times during the two-day Spring Training open test at Barber Motorsports Park including the two newest additions to the Juncos Racing stable, Connor Di Philippi and Martin Scuncio. Martin ran with the team last season and returns this year for what will hopefully be a full-season effort.
“I’m really excited about this season and want to thank Juncos Racing for another opportunity to race for them again this year. Connor joining the team will bring more experience and learning opportunities for me and the other drivers at Juncos.” –Martin Scuncio, #22 Juncos Racing
Connor swaps rides with Gustavo Menezes. Connor ran last year for Gustavo’s new team, Team Pelfrey, but moves this year to Gustavo’s former team, Juncos Racing. Both are great teams, and its no demotion for either pilot.
“I think that with the success that Juncos Racing has had in the past, there is a lot of good experience on the team to allow us to be very competitive this year. I’m looking forward to teaming up with Martin and pushing each other to the limit for the championship each and every race. I would like to thank Juncos Racing and ModSpace Motorsports for giving me this opportunity to compete this season.” –Connor Di Philippi, #2 Juncos Racing
The duo along with their Venezuelan teammates, Diego Ferriria and Bruno Palli, will have their hands full this season as the 2011 USF2000 champion and Team Pelfry pilot Petri Suvanto and Andretti Autosport driver Sage Karam both showed that they had serious pace at Barber Motorsports Park yesterday and today. The morning sessions for both days were the quick ones. The cool track plus teams working on qualifying set-ups added up to some very quick times, including a new track record set by Connor Di Philippi of 1:20.1 set on Tuesday morning. Connor also set the fast time on Monday morning with a 1:20.6. On Monday, Petri was second quick with a 1:21.3 followed by Sage Karam with a 1:12.4.
On Tuesday, Connor was again on the top of the time sheets followed closely by Petri 1:20.1 and a 1:20.7, respectively. Third quickest was Team Pelfrey’s Jack Hawksworth. Sage Karam was well down in the order only posting the seventh fastest time of the day. Neither Sage nor the team were especially concerned as, according to Sage, they were working on their race set-ups during the second day of testing.
“Today is all about making a race setup. We showed we can go fast yesterday. Looking forward to driving on the Barber circuit again today!!” — Sage Karam, #88 Andretti Autosport (via Facebook)
The official entry list for St. Petersburg hasn’t been released yet, but with so many drivers turning out for Spring Training, I expect we’ll see a grid size in the high-teens to perhaps twenty. We’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, here are the combined results from the two-day test at Barber.
|1||2||Connor De Philippi||01:20.1|