This past Tuesday, as part of the Team USA Scholarship, Pat Barrett and I were awarded a one day test with Andersen Racing Team in their Pro Mazda car. The test took place at Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Virginia. The purpose of this test was to give us further preparation towards the Formula Palmer Audi Autumn Cup Championship in England this fall. On Monday, the team fitted me to their car, and we went over the testing plan for the following day. This included scheduled damper/spring/ride height changes that my engineer, Mike Redgio, had on his testing procedure sheet. Throughout most of the day I continued to meet with members of the Andersen Racing Team which included their IPS engineers, Dominic and Nicholas Cape. Monday turned into being a good learning experience for the future by working with a professional team in preparation for a productive test day.
Tuesday morning came early as I arrived at the circuit at 7:15 am. It was straight to the scale pad in the morning to do some last minute critiques to the car before the first outing. I have never driven a Pro Mazda car which meant today was a big learning day, especially driving on the GoodYear bias plied tires. Throughout the morning session, I continued to build speed in the car and learn its capabilities. Surprisingly the car was having a sever understeer issue that was very abnormal. Mike Redgio and I worked hard to fix the problem, and finally found the issue. It was a bad set of shocks which was causing the handling problems. Once the car was back up to speed I was able to put together everything that I learned in the morning to do a fast lap. However, my new tires were well gone by this part in the day so I was not able to feel what stickers felt like with a proper set up. I learned a lot today by experiencing an ill handling car. Learning how to fix the issues is what makes championships happen on race weekends. I have to thank everybody at Andersen Racing for giving me this opportunity to prepare for the Autumn Cup trophy in England. I am looking forward to leaving the States in a few weeks to represent the U.S. in this upcoming fall season championship.
-credit: Joel Miller