Andersen Racing Busy With Post-Season Testing
PALMETTO, Fla., Nov. 6 - Andersen Racing, the 2008 team champion of both the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear and the F2000 Championship Series presented by Hoosier Racing Tire, is certainly not resting on its laurels. The Palmetto, Fla.-based team tested four drivers last Thursday at Sebring International Raceway, and will return to that road course in Sebring, Fla., on Nov. 10-11 and Nov. 17 for additional testing.
Jonathan Bomarito and Joel Miller tested RLR/Andersen Racing's two Firestone Indy Lights cars, including the one that J.R. Hildebrand drove to a fifth-place finish in this year's championship. Anders Krohn and Nathan Silva tried out two of the team's Star Mazda cars.
Both of the drivers who tested the Firestone Indy Lights cars last week finished second in the series they competed in this year with other teams. Bomarito, 26, of Monterey, Calif., finished second in the 2008 Cooper Tires Presents the Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda with three victories. Miller, 20, of Hesperia, Calif., finished second in the 2008 Star Mazda series, posting one victory.
As part of Andersen Racing's unique driver development program, each of the team's full-season Star Mazda and F2000 drivers receive a test at the next level at year's end. Krohn, 20, of Sandnes, Norway, dominated the F2000 series driving an Andersen Racing entry, posting nine victories. Ashbourne, County Meath, Ireland's Peter Dempsey, who tied Star Mazda champ John Edwards in the number of victories with four but finished third in that series with Andersen Racing this year, plans to drive one of the team's Firestone Indy Lights cars for the first time at a future test.
In addition to Krohn, Silva, of Sao Paulo, Brazil, tested one of the team's Star Mazda cars at Sebring. Silva is only 18 but he's already been racing for 10 years, getting his start in karts. Most recently he's been competing in Formula 3 in South America.
"All four drivers performed well, completing about 100 laps each around the shorter road course circuit at Sebring," said team co-owner Dan Andersen, who added that the test was good experience for the crew as well as the drivers.
"Walter Preston and Mike Reggio, who will handle our Firestone Indy Lights engineering duties next year, were flawless, and our entire Firestone Indy Lights team performed very well," he said. "Remi Lanteigne headed the engineering and Roger Morissette the crew chief duties for Star Mazda, and the Mazda team also did an excellent job."
Mike Zimicki, noted driver coach for Rahal Letterman Racing (RLR), was on hand to assist Andersen in evaluating the driving talent. Andersen Racing is the official development team of RLR, which competes in both the IndyCar Series and the American Le Mans Series.
"I'm very pleased with the overall performance of our teams, as all four cars were clearly well prepared and our engineers worked very well with the four talented drivers," Andersen added. "Jonathan and Joel demonstrated why they both had great results in their respective series in 2008, as they adapted very quickly to the higher horsepower Firestone Indy Lights cars and impressed us all with their driving and their feedback.
"Anders and Nathan also were very fast, with Anders beating the fastest times our past drivers posted at Sebring by half a second. Nathan showed us all that he is a very talented young man. He worked very well with our staff as he learned the track and the car. By the end of the day he was closing the gap on Anders."
Three additional drivers (Pacific F2000 Champion Jeff Westphal, third-place Atlantic driver Jonathan Summerton and British F3 driver Alistair Jackson) are slated to test the team's Firestone Indy Lights cars at Sebring Nov. 10-11, while four more (Team USA Scholarship winners Conor Daly and Josef Newgarden, as well as Richard Kent and one other to be named later) will test the Star Mazda cars there on Nov. 17.
The team may also test on the oval at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla. on Nov. 21. Additional testing of the Star Mazda and F2000 cars is also planned at the team's test track, Andersen RacePark.
Andersen Racing is sponsored by Allied Building Products Corporation. For more information see andersenracingteam.com and andersenracepark.com.
Driver quotes follow:
Jonathan Bomarito: "First of all I'd like to thank Dan Andersen and his team for giving me a great test. The car ran perfectly all day. I was able to come up to speed and learn about this new car. We had a great day of good weather and sunshine, and it was fun.
"It was the first time I'd gotten to drive a Firestone Indy Lights car. It's quite a bit different than an Atlantic car, and it was a new challenge. It was fun in its own way. I had to get used to the weight and the differences in the braking zones, but it was fun."
Joel Miller: "The car is a lot different than I expected. With the weight and the amount of power under your right foot it makes a driver be really patient. I'm pleased on how things went today, being my first time in a car of this size. It was a huge learning curve, and now I have that in mind for future opportunities. I have to thank Dan Andersen for giving me the chance to drive his car. It was a great day."
Anders Krohn: "For winning the F2000 Championship, I also got to test a Firestone Indy Lights car with another team recently at Putnam Park. I was very encouraged by both the Indy Lights and the Star Mazda tests, and it would be a blessing to be able to compete in either of the two highly respected open-wheel categories.
"I look forward to coming home to Norway again, where I will continue to work with my current and hopefully new associates towards another good racing campaign in 2009. I still don't know where I'll end up for the coming season, but with some solid tests and good results on my record, something good will happen for sure.
"I want to thank Andersen Racing for giving me the possibility to drive a Star Mazda car for them. We had a great season together in F2000 and it would be an honor to continue our work together for the upcoming season as well."
Nathan Silva: "I enjoyed the test a lot, and felt that the crew did an excellent job. I hope to be racing in Star Mazda in 2009."