The Indy Lights series hit the track from 8am-2pm yesterday at 16th and Georgetown for an open test. 21 cars took to the square oval in preparation for the Freedom 100 race which will take place on Carb Day, Friday, May 22nd. Since on track time is at a premium over the next two weeks, they will only have two more short practice sessions on May 21st before they tackle qualifying later that day.
The Indy Lights series has seen a huge influx of talent this year. The high purses have made it a good money making proposition for the team owners, and the relatively weak dollar has brought several European hot shoes across the pond. Also helping the increase in car counts this year is the fact that the Atlantics series is no longer linked with the now defunct CCWS. 13 of this years drivers are rookies to the series and to ovals. The Kansas race two weeks ago highlighted this fact, since almost half the event was ran under caution, but to say the weather conditions were treacherous would be an understatement.
And while the lights cars are not nearly as powerful as their big brothers, they do compare very favorably with other series. Take for example the fastest Brickyard 400 pole speed set by Casey Mears in 2004 at 186.293 mph. Now compare that with the fastest lap set at yesterday’s practice session by Sebastian Saavedra at 191.278. Not bad for a feeder series. Sure, I am discounting the fact that this is not the normal high banked monstrosity that NASCAR prefers to run on, but it helps underscore how good these guys and gals have to be to jockey their Lights cars around the track.
For further comparison against other open wheel racing, take a look at the handy chart we have compiled below.
|Size||3.5 L||2.3 L||4.0 L||1.8 L Turbo||4.5 L||3.5 L|
|Boost HP||–||–||–||450 (10 times)||600 (4-8 times)||–|
|Length||191.5 in||177.1 in||191.5 in||?||190.3||192|
|Width||75 in||77 in||71.1 in||62.6 in||75.6 in||78.5|
|Wheelbase||117 in||109.3 in||122.8||113.6 in||118.1 in||122|
|Weight||1430 lbs||1418 lbs||1516 lbs||1433 lbs||1543 lbs||1565 lbs|
|w/o driver||w/ driver||w/ driver||w/ driver||w/ driver||w/o driver|
As for practice times from yesterday’s open test, here they are.
1 Sebastian Saavedra (27) 191.278
2 Wade Cunningham (11) 190.969
3 Martin Plowman (15) 0.0953 47.1473 190.891
4 JR Hildebrand (26) 0.1154 47.1674 190.81
5 Andrew Prendeville (2) 190.709
6 Ana Beatriz (20) 190.601
7 James Davison (21) 190.031
8 Daniel Herrington (28) 189.657
9 Junior Strous (18) 189.576
10 Richard Philippe (37) 189.332
11 Pippa Mann (16) 188.966
12 Charlie Kimball (35) 188.842
13 Mario Romancini (5) 188.761
14 Logan Gomez (32) 188.752
15 James Hinchcliffe (7) 188.057
16 Jonathan Summerton (9) 188.026
17 Gustavo Yacaman (44) 187.931
18 Brandon Wagner (32) 187.822
19 Ali Jackson (6) 187.325
20 Jesse Mason (49) 187.116
21 Rodrigo Barbosa (55) 185.377