Pro Mazda winner to join Newgarden, Alberico for shakedown.
With his 2014 Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tires championship trophy not even having yet found a home on the trophy shelf, Rising Star Racing’s Spencer Pigot (in photo above) is already eyeing the next thing.
The American racer, who closed the 2014 season with a dramatic last-to-fifth place drive at Sonoma Raceway to take the Pro Mazda championship in the final race of the year, has secured a test in an Indy Lights machine this weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course as part of the annual Chris Griffis Road to Indy test.
Driving on both days of the Saturday-Sunday test on the 2.49-mile infield road course, Pigot will test the No. 42 Indy Lights entry for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb/Agajanian, the powerhouse squad that boasts seven championships in Indy Lights competition since 2004.
The run is not Pigot’s first time driving an Indy Lights machine, having got the last-minute call to a one-day test with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports at Putnam Park last September.
“I’m looking forward to getting some experience in the (Schmidt Peterson) simulator ahead of the test,” said Pigot, who will utilize the outgoing V8-powered Indy Lights machine. “The Lights car is bigger, and heavier, than the Pro Mazda (car). So you need to drive it differently, be as smooth as possible with it, particularly with your steering inputs. You want to carry a lot of speed into the corner but also keep the back end as settled as you can.”
Having a baseline of what to expect with the car, as well as experience with the team, gives Pigot an extra boost of confidence ahead of the test.
Goal 'to be the fastest'
“The goal is to be if not just up in the top two or three, but really to be the fastest,” said Pigot, who took pole position in Pro Mazda competition on the track earlier this year. “I’ve worked with the Schmidt guys before, and there are a lot of smart people there. It’s a very professional group and for me I just want to soak up and learn as much as I can from them. They have so much experience, especially with this car. It’s a good place to learn a lot and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Pigot will not be the only Rising Star Racing pilot in action, as 2011 Indy Lights Champion Josef Newgarden will be put to work as well when he also takes his turn behind the wheel of the next-generation IL-15 Dallara Lights machine this weekend. The IL-15 will make its competition debut next March in St. Petersburg, and the Indy Lights Series has engaged a driving roster replete with champions to help develop the next-generation machine.
Also on hand to observe will be Rising Star Racing driver Neil Alberico, who scored his maiden Mazda Pro Series podium at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May. Alberico will be in Indianapolis early ahead of his Robo-Pong debut at New Castle Motorsports Park September 21.
The Chris Griffis Memorial test will open with on-track action on Saturday, September 13 with Indy Lights practice set for 11:45 AM-12:45 PM and then close with a session from 4:20 PM-5:35 PM. Sunday’s schedule will see the same times for the second day of running.