The Pro Mazda Series Presented by Cooper Tires has the honor of being the first, and for this season, the only INDYCAR-sanctioned series to race at the new Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX. The Mazda Road to Indy teams and drivers have been at COTA all week testing and practicing for qualifying and racing today, and a racing tomorrow in support of the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series.
Testing earlier in the week provided few genuine surprises, as we mentioned on our most recent podcast, Episode 177. Andretti Autosport’s Matthew Brabham, the 2012 Cooper Tires UFS2000 Series Powered by Mazda champion, set the pace in Sessions #1 and #2 yesterday, with Juncos Racing’s Diego Ferreira not too far behind. Diego topped the timesheets in Session #3 yesterday, edging Brabham by 0.075 s. The rest of the field had variable times and all were several tenths adrift of Matthew and Diego. The expected fast times from Spencer Pigot in the Team Pelfrey #81 machine never materialized. Spencer was P3, P5, and P4 in the three testing sessions and around a second back of P1 in all three sessions.
“I have been really looking forward to my first race with the Andretti Autosport team. Especially as it’s on the new COTA track. Testing last weekend went well and I really enjoyed the driving the track. The team and I are working hard and everything is going to plan so far. So I don’t see why we can’t carry this momentum into the upcoming race this weekend and go for the win. It exciting to finally get back into race mode and get this season underway.” — Matthew Brabham, #83 Andretti Autosport
That all changed this morning as Spencer set the fastest time in the first practice session with a lap time of 2:02.618. The fastest lap in the previous testing sessions was set by Diego Ferreira with a 2:02.794 time. Diego was three tenths off of Spencer’s time this morning and looks to be the most consistent driver over the testing and practice sessions. That consistency will serve him well if it continues throughout the season. Brabham’s morning time put him in P6, two full seconds off of Pigot’s time. He only put in 5 laps, compared to the 10-12 laps everyone was running. My supposition is that he was conserving tyres in preparation for qualifying and Race #1 this afternoon.
Qualifying begins at 12:00pm EST today with the race scheduled for 4:25pm EST. Tomorrow’s warm-up begins bright and early at 8:00am EST, and Race #2 is stated to start at 1:10pm EST. You can follow the action via live timing and scoring at http://www.promazdachampionship.com/timing/index.html.
Entry List for Pro Mazda Season Opener at the Circuit of the Americas
|2||Jose Gutierrez||Monterrey, Mexico||Martiga D D||Martiga D D|
|9||Juan Piedrahita||Bogota, Colombia||JDC MotorSports||Petrosur/Sisolec/GFK Motors/Red Line Oil|
|11||Juan Acosta||Cali, Colombia||M1 Racing||Studio F/Ela Special|
|16||Lloyd Read||Newport, Wales||JDC MotorSports||Read Motorsports/Aerocraft Design/Maaco/Red Line Oil|
|18||Kyle Kaiser||San Jose, California||World Speed Motorsports||InterVision/NetApp/Juniper Networks/Riverbed|
|28||Shelby Blackstock||Nashville, Tennessee||Andretti Autosport||Team Starstruck|
|37||Jay Horak||Mesa, Arizona||AutoEnginuity||Star Race Cars|
|44||Scott Anderson||Fort Collins, Colorado||Juncos Racing||Neuropathy Testing Center/Laser Nail Centers/OtterCares/Sparco/Bell|
|48||Patrick Linn||Pittsburgh, PA||PRL Motorsports||PRL Motorsports|
|57||Diego Ferreira||Maracay, Venezuela||Juncos Racing||Team Vi5o Venezuela/Mindeporte|
|66||Zack Meyer||Toronto, Ontario, Canada||JDC Motorsports||Damis Partners III/Red Line Oil|
|75||Jeff Garibotti||Chicago, Illinois||Garibotti Racing||TBA|
|80||Francisco Cerullo||Caracas, Venezuela||Linares Racing||Taller Jackers/Mindeporte|
|81||Spencer Pigot||Orlando, Florida||Team Pelfrey||Doug Mockett & Company/Gap Guard/Parathyroid.com/California Scents/OMP|
|82||Petri Suvanto||Nurmo, Finland||Team Pelfrey||GetGapGuard.com|
|83||Matthew Brabham||Boca Raton, Florida||Andretti Autosport||Team Andretti Autosport|