Aaron Telitz’s season highlights in the 2015 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda would be satisfactory for many drivers.
He finished third in the championship with one win and ten other podiums, but for Telitz, that wasn’t enough.
I’ve been getting into anything and everything I can drive
Aaron Telitz on how he's been spending his offseason
“On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give it a 6, a little higher than 50%. Basically it was just kind of a struggle of a year, personally I felt like I left quite a bit on the race track. I don't feel like it was my best year in terms of my own performance and that could be attributed to a whole lot of different things, I just felt like it wasn’t a great year really, looking back on it now,” Telitz said.
Chris Griffiths Memorial test
However, just because a racing season is over, it doesn’t mean that a racing driver’s work is done. The Chris Griffiths Memorial test after the season finale gives teams across the Mazda Road to Indy to test out potential drivers for the 2016 season, and Telitz had the opportunity to help out a new team.
“I didn’t think I was actually going to be at [the Chris Griffiths] test but I got called up by Jeremy Shaw to go down and help out that new USF2000 team RJB Motorsports, to kind of get their program and get their feet under them, and so I went down there and helped them out with that. I got their car working well and on the second day I went out and in the first session I think I went second fastest with the new team and their new car, so I felt like that was a good starting point for their team and for them to work off of that for the offseason and for next year,” Telitz said.
However, it was not the only testing Telitz has done this offseason. He’s tested with Team Pelfrey and World Speed Motorsports in their Pro Mazda cars and for USF2000 he tested with RJB Motorsports, Pabst Racing, and also did work with Team Pelfrey in their USF2000 car too.
“I’ve been getting into anything and everything I can drive, I just got back from three days of testing down in Florida, two days with the Pelfrey guys with one day in their Pro Mazda car and one day in their USF2000 car, basically just kind of helping them out, giving them a benchmark, giving them some areas to improve on in their USF2000 cars.”
“It’s been a kind of a fun offseason because a lot of people know that I’ve driven a lot of different USF2000 cars and they know that I have a lot of experience with them and know what works and what doesn’t work. I’ve been finding that some teams have been having me just kind of drive their cars just so I can tell them where it’s at or what they need to work on since essentially I’ve driven for nearly every team in the paddock,” Telitz said.
The other day in Florida was spent with Extreme Speed Motorsports. He was going to test their Prototype Lites car at Sebring, but a mechanical failure put those plans on hold for now. Telitz does intend to be at the Rolex 24 in January.
“Obviously sports cars are something I’m looking to do, I’m going to be at the roar and at the 24 Hours, kind of nosing around the paddock, seeing what’s there in terms of opportunities, I’m basically interested in driving anything and everything, I’ll hop in anything anyone will let me do.”
Hoping to make the next step
At the PRI Show in Indianapolis, the new 2017 USF2000 car was unveiled and Telitz was pleased with what he’s seen so far.
“I think the thing looks awesome, I’m pretty excited for it, I’d like to drive it obviously at some point in time, I doubt I’ll still be in USF2000 when it arrives in 2017 but I think it looks great, hopefully it’s not too expensive but from what I can tell, it looks like a great car.”
However, the focus for Telitz has to be 2016 and moving into the Pro Mazda championship.
“I’m looking at moving into Pro Mazda, Pelfrey’s right at the top, of course. Juncos is filled up now so that’s probably not an option, but yeah, the Pelfrey test went seriously well. I really enjoyed working with the guys, Tom Knapp, their engineer, is a genius, it’s no wonder why they won the championship last year, and they’re obviously trying to be a title contender again in 2016 and they’d love to have me in the car so I’m working on it,” Telitz said.
Based on his impressions of the team, it’s not a bad bet to place Aaron Telitz with Team Pelfrey in 2016 for the Pro Mazda championship.