MRTI Observations: Chris Griffis Memorial Test Indy Lights Day 1
This article has been updated throughout the day following each of the four sessions, with the final update posted as of 8:00 pm EST.
With an even mix of rookies and veterans for the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires portion of the Chris Griffis Memorial Test, there was intrigue surrounding whether any of the youngsters were ready for the next step. As usual, some performed well as others struggled.
Based on the action taking place so far, here are some observations, with the full speed charts at the bottom.
Jamin Switches Teams – No Fear
Sometimes when a driver moves from one team to another, they need some time to adapt to their surroundings. It’s clear that Nico Jamin didn’t get the memo.
Piloting the No. 5 for Belardi Auto Racing, Jamin topped the first day of testing with a lap of one minute and 15.717 seconds. Recall he spent last season with Andretti Autosport, placing seventh in the year-end standings with three victories.
Jamin has experience doing this, though, as he made the jump over to Andretti following time spent with Juncos Racing. There’s also a known fact that Belardi Auto Racing can win races, as proven clearly the past two seasons with multiple wins. In 2017, Belardi won four races en route to the team championship.
Continuing to Learn….
In the first session, Rinus Veekay put down a lap of one minute and 16.785 seconds to sit fifth on the board. Though as the day went on, he continued posting quicker times each session – even topping round three, before ending the day fourth overall (1:16.207).
Continuing to get quicker from round to round is the goal of testing, specifically for a rookie as they adapt to their new surroundings. Recall this is Veekay’s first Indy Lights test after placing second in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda last year in his first season, with three wins and 12 podiums, driving for Pabst Racing.
The faster lap also sets the overall time board up interestingly, as Belardi Auto Racing ended the day with two drivers in the top-four, thanks to Jamin and Veekay.
Franzoni is Still Fast
When transitioning from one series to another, there should be a period of learning and struggles. Victor Franzoni forget to get the memo.
The 2017 Pro Mazda Presented by Cooper Tires Champion piloted his Juncos Racing entry to second quickest in the first session, ending up third overall (1:15.987). Last year, he took home the title following seven wins and 12 podiums last year.
Seeing a Juncos Racing entry up near the top is nothing new to Indy Lights, though, as Kyle Kaiser won the series championship last year with them.
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