RLR/Andersen Racing to Field Three Cars In Firestone Indy Lights Doubleheader At Watkins Glen, N.Y. on July 5 PALMETTO, Fla., June 23 - Andersen Racing's Charles Hall, the current Star Mazda point leader, will make his Firestone Indy Lights...
RLR/Andersen Racing to Field Three Cars In Firestone Indy Lights Doubleheader At Watkins Glen, N.Y. on July 5
PALMETTO, Fla., June 23 - Andersen Racing's Charles Hall, the current Star Mazda point leader, will make his Firestone Indy Lights debut as Andrew Prendeville and J.R. Hildebrand's teammates on the RLR/Andersen Racing team in the doubleheader at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y. on July 5.
Hall, of Sheffield, England, will drive a white Dallara leased by RLR/Andersen Racing from another team, SWE Racing. Its livery will include Andersen Racing's primary sponsor, Allied Interior Products, and Hall's sponsors: Blimpie, Pardoes Solicitors and AccentBanking.com. It will be No. 77, which is the same number Hall uses in the Star Mazda series.
Hall will drive the Indy Lights car for the first time at a test on Wednesday at the historic upstate New York road course.
In the three Star Mazda races held so far this year, Hall has two seconds and one victory. The victory came June 7 in the first Star Mazda race ever held at Watkins Glen, where Hall led every lap.
That triumph was the first of three victories at Watkins Glen by Andersen Racing within eight days, as Anders Krohn and Doug Prendeville won doubleheaders in the F2000 Championship Series there June 14-15. The Palmetto, Fla.-based team offers a three-step ladder system for up-and-coming open-wheel stars. It is the development team for IndyCar's Rahal Letterman Racing (RLR).
Hall, 28, was on the short list for a Formula 1 test seat in 2005 when he was seriously injured in a traffic accident caused by a drunk driver. Despite several operations and a great deal of physical therapy, Hall never gave up on his dream to return to the sport he loves. He competed in a handful of Toyota Atlantic races in 2006 before finding a home with Andersen Racing earlier this year. Prior to that he had a long list of accomplishments in Fran-Am 2000, British Formula 3, British Formula Renault, the Formula Chrysler Euro Series, British Formula Vauxhall and karting in his native England.
"Charles's goal has always been to move into the Firestone Indy Lights series, " said Andersen Racing co-owner Dan Andersen. "We discussed him doing either the Glen or Infineon as a 'one-off' trial. After his win at the Star Mazda event he was able to gather some support for that effort, and we agreed to assist some too to make it happen.
"Charles has demonstrated to us that he is extremely talented and experienced, and clearly ready right now for Indy Lights," Andersen continued. "We looked at various opportunities, and with our team's test this week and Charles' recent win at the Glen, the stars seemed to align to make Watkins Glen the perfect place for his Indy Lights debut this season. We expect him to be competitive immediately."
"The Firestone Indy Lights series is very competitive," noted Hall. "I'm hoping that if I can have a good showing at Watkins Glen in front of all the IndyCar teams, it could further my career and help get me through a door."
Although the car and the Indy Lights series will be new to Hall, he'll have many familiar faces assisting him. Pete Mercier, Hall's Star Mazda engineer, will be his engineer for his Indy Lights debut. RLR's Greg Cates will be Hall's lead mechanic. Corey Center, who was Andrew Prendeville's second mechanic last year in Indy Lights and is currently Scott Willard's lead mechanic on Andersen Racing's F2000 team, will be Hall's second mechanic at the Glen.
Hall has worked with RLR/Andersen Racing's Indy Lights engineers, Dominic and Nicholas Cape, in the past too. The Cape brothers, who are also from England, were Hall's engineers at the Star Mazda season opener in March at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla.
Hall will meet Hildebrand for the first time at the test on Wednesday. Andrew Prendeville was Hall's spotter for his Watkins Glen Star Mazda victory. "I look forward to meeting J.R., and working with Andrew again," Hall said.
When asked what his biggest challenge will be at the Glen next month, Hall said he wasn't worried about the car, the crew or the track. "I'll take my time to see how you can race with the other drivers," he said. "But in my mind, the only thing that's changed is it's a new car for me.
"I'm just happy to be in the car," he added. "I'm really pleased with the opportunity that's been put forward, and I have to thank Andersen Racing and our sponsors for that."
Hall will certainly get a concentrated indoctrination to the Firestone Indy Lights series. The Watkins Glen doubleheader marks the first time in its history when more than one race will be held on the same day.
For more information see andersenracingteam.com, andersenracepark.com, charleshallusa.com and indycar.com/lights.