RLR/Anderson Racing Homestead test 2008-12-02

Andersen Racing Continues Extensive Testing Schedule PALMETTO, Fla., Dec. 2 - Ireland's Peter Dempsey took advantage of one perk of Andersen Racing's groundbreaking open-wheel development program recently by testing one of the RLR/Andersen...

Andersen Racing Continues Extensive Testing Schedule

PALMETTO, Fla., Dec. 2 - Ireland's Peter Dempsey took advantage of one perk of Andersen Racing's groundbreaking open-wheel development program recently by testing one of the RLR/Andersen Racing Firestone Indy Lights cars at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla.

The Palmetto, Fla.-based team awards tests at the next level for each of its full-season Star Mazda and F2000 drivers. Dempsey finished third in the 2008 Star Mazda driver point standings in a year that saw Andersen Racing win the team championship in that series as well as the F2000 Championship Series, and place sixth in the Firestone Indy Lights team standings.

Jonathan Summerton (third place this year in the Atlantic series), Jeff Westphal (2008 Pacific F2000 champion) and Alistair Jackson (British F3 driver) also tested the team's Firestone Indy Lights cars on the short course at Sebring, Fla. recently.

"I am very impressed with the talent level of the drivers testing with us," said John Andersen, team co-owner and manager of the RLR/Andersen Firestone Indy Lights effort. "I have been able to attend most of our test days this fall, and was really impressed. Hopefully we'll be able to make some driver announcements soon."

The two Team USA scholarship winners who represented America so well this year, Conor Daly (2008 Skip Barber National champion) and Josef Newgarden (runner-up in 2008 Skip Barber National), tested Andersen Racing's Star Mazda cars on the short course at Sebring as well as part of the team's contribution to that program. In addition, Richard Kent, who won the Star Mazda season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. in an Andersen Racing car, also tested the same type of car there.

Michelle Kish, the overall team manager as well as the team manager for the organization's Star Mazda squad, was also pleased with the Star Mazda testing.

"We know Conor, as he has tested with us in the past, and the team members all love him, but it was also great getting to know Josef," she said. "The test went very well, and both drivers showed why they had such great results in the UK.

"Conor and Josef adapted quickly to the higher-horsepower Pro Mazda cars, and will be competing at the front in 2009 if they choose to do the series," she added.

The latest round of drivers testing with the team followed earlier testing at Sebring. Jonathan Bomarito and Joel Miller tested the RLR/Andersen Racing Firestone Indy Lights cars and Anders Krohn and Nathan Silva tested the team's Star Mazda cars in early November there.

Peter Dempsey (tested Firestone Indy Lights car): "The test went extremely well. I had never driven a car like this before so it was all about getting seat time. It was great to get the opportunity to test the car, and I would like to thank Dan and John Andersen for giving me the opportunity. I really enjoyed driving the car, and considering the program we ran we were a lot closer to the pace than expected. We never got to run new tires and if we had everything 100 percent I feel we would have been right on pace with the front runners. I am really looking forward to driving in the series next year, so hopefully I can raise the budget."

Mike Reggio (Andersen Racing Firestone Indy Lights engineer): "It was a good test for the team, and being able to work with Peter, who I worked with all season in Star Mazda, made the test run very well. He was up to speed quickly, and seemed at home in the car after only a few laps. In the limited amount of actual testing we were able to do, his feedback was able to help the team further understand the car. Given another day and some new tires, our times would have been significantly lower. But this was a good, solid test for us."

Jeff Westphal (tested Firestone Indy Lights car): "I know I could get more out of the car with a bit more seat time. The differences in weight, wheelbase, downforce and horsepower demanded a different approach that I feel like I have grasped, but you can always go a bit faster and find a little more time. The engineers were instrumental with their feedback and use of data to work with me on specific tasks as the day progressed.

"The test went well for me. It was my first time driving anything more than the 2.0-liter Zetec car I competed in this year, so naturally adjustments were necessary for me to properly go about the day, but we finished off in good shape. We were starting to make setup changes and feedback towards the end of the day. It was a pleasure to work with everyone at Andersen Racing. They are extremely professional, and gave me a car that ran with no issues throughout the day.

"The track was way more bumpy than I expected, but after a few laps I had the layout pretty much figured out. It was a good place to test though; it simulates a street circuit very well I'm told. I'd like to thank Dan and John Andersen for giving me the opportunity to work with their team for the day.

"They have a great program going right now. The ideas and opportunities they bring to the table are going to be just what the racing industry will need in the next couple of years, mainly with their in-house driver development ladder that is in place. It is a one-stop shop for moving forward with your development as a driver!"

Conor Daly (tested Star Mazda car): "The test was an extremely good learning experience for me. Since it was my first day in the car, I had to learn a lot very quickly. The Andersen Racing team helped me a great deal with understanding the car and the setup as the day went on. The day was a great success overall, with me being able to do some very quick laps!"

Josef Newgarden (tested Star Mazda car): "Testing with the Andersen Racing team was a fantastic experience. This opportunity was definitely a benefit to my development in preparation for the 2009 season. The car was a lot more poised and balanced in respect to cars I have driven in the past. The entire team was extremely professional and very helpful in making sure I was completely comfortable in the car so that I could get the most out of my track time. I want to thank Jeremy Shaw and all of this year's Team USA supporters, along with Andersen Racing for making this test possible!"

-credit: rlr/ar

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Series INDYLIGHTS , PRO-MAZDA