Andersen Racing Sebring test 2009-01-16

Andersen Racing Completes Nearly 2,000 Miles In Two-Day Test at Sebring In Preparation for Star Mazda Season Opener PALMETTO, Fla., Jan. 16 - Andersen Racing, the reigning team champion of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear, ...

Andersen Racing Completes Nearly 2,000 Miles In Two-Day Test at Sebring In Preparation for Star Mazda Season Opener

PALMETTO, Fla., Jan. 16 - Andersen Racing, the reigning team champion of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear, recorded nearly 2,000 total miles in a two-day test of four of its Star Mazda cars last week at Sebring International Raceway.

The 2009 season opener will be held at that road course in Sebring, Fla., on March 20 as part of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring program.

Piloting the four cars on Sebring's long course were Conor Daly of Noblesville, Ind., the 2008 Skip Barber National champion; Richard Kent of Clifton Reynes, England, who won the 2008 Star Mazda season finale; Gabby Chaves of Bogota, Columbia, who excelled in Skip Barber and in selected Formula BMW events last year; and Adam Christodoulou of Litchfield, England, who won the highly competitive British Formula Renault Championship last year.

"None of the drivers had any incidents whatsoever, and we got a lot accomplished," said Dan Andersen, co-owner of the Palmetto, Fla.-based team. "The drivers were able to become familiar with the track. We worked on a number of set-up changes for all of the cars, and did qualifying and race-simulation runs. The team worked very well together, and our engineering staff gathered quite a lot of data for analysis prior to the next test, which is scheduled for Jan. 27-28 at Sebring."

Daly and Kent are already signed with the team for the 2009 season. Chaves isn't old enough to compete in Star Mazda this year, but he may join Andersen Racing's new Formula BMW team this season and may also do some selected Star Mazda races later in the year after he turns 16. Christodoulou's plans are uncertain, but he thoroughly enjoyed his first taste of American racing.

Conor Daly: ""I think my first test as officially part of Andersen Racing went very well!

"After lunch on the first day we started having a bit of brake troubles. It was a strange problem, but Dave [DeMarchi, a lead mechanic] and the whole crew worked really hard to identify and fix it! Once we had the brakes sorted out it took me a little while to regain my confidence under braking because I hadn't had sufficient stopping power for quite some time.

"Late in the day on Tuesday we really started to make great set-up changes and the car started working very well. I was pleased at the end of the day with some quick laps and a very good-handling car. This test provided a wealth of information that will undoubtedly help the team throughout the season."

Richard Kent: "It was a great way to start the year! We learned a lot throughout the test, and what a fantastic circuit to make my debut as an official Andersen Racing driver. I'm really looking forward to being back in the car for the first official tests at the end of the month."

Gabby Chaves: "I knew that this was a test worth doing. It was with a great car, one of the best teams in the series and three other great drivers.

"The first time I got in the car I couldn't believe the power and grip on the really fast corners; it was simply amazing!

"After getting used to the car I focused on working with the team to improve the car and my technique for the car. I really liked the way the entire team actually worked together. There was no hidden information between the drivers and no secrets.

"After the two-day test I came to my own conclusion that I will try to run with Andersen Racing for the FBMW 2009 season."

Adam Christodoulou: "Wow! What an impression America has given me on my first trip over!

"When I saw the car for the first time it was a little bit more compact than I expected, but when I was eventually let loose in it, it definitely made me hold on tight. It gives you a nice kick down the straights, and it's pretty stuck to the track on the high-speed corners.

"When I got to the track I realized how much bigger everything was in America. The track seemed endless, especially when it takes just over 2 minutes to get back to the first corner after leaving the pits. The straights on the track seemed never ending, as well as the first and last corners. It's definitely not the easiest of tracks to drive. Some of the corners have some harsh bumps so you have to be ready for them when you're racing on the edge.

"I knew the test was going to be challenging. I had to learn the car, the track and how the team works. I felt even though it was quite a steep learning curve, I coped with it well. I'd like to think I left a good impression.

"The team set up was very professional. I looked through the data and the video footage with the engineers and the driver coach, and by the end of the first day I was on the pace with the other drivers.

"One major difference to what I'm used to is that Star Mazda races are 45 minutes long, so for my last stint of the two-day test we did a race simulation that went smoothly.

"My thoughts of the few days that I have spent out here are the team is extremely passionate about their racing, the team and their drivers. They're out there to do a job, which is to win races, and as everyone's seen they've proven they can do that.

"Nothing has been confirmed at the moment, but if I was to race in America, then Andersen Racing would be the team to be with."

-credit: ar

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About this article
Series Pro Mazda
Drivers Skip Barber , Richard Kent , Conor Daly , Adam Christodoulou , Gabby Chaves