AWR pre-season test at Sebring notes

AWR Continues Pre-Season Testing at Sebring FAIRFIELD, N.J., Jan. 13 - Joined by newcomer Ramiro Scuncio of Argentina, Brad Jaeger and Gerardo Bonilla got the new year off to a fast start by testing Andersen Walko Racing (AWR)'s Star Mazda cars...

AWR Continues Pre-Season Testing at Sebring

FAIRFIELD, N.J., Jan. 13 - Joined by newcomer Ramiro Scuncio of Argentina, Brad Jaeger and Gerardo Bonilla got the new year off to a fast start by testing Andersen Walko Racing (AWR)'s Star Mazda cars at Sebring International Raceway recently.

The 3.7-mile, 17-turn road course located in the Central Florida town of Sebring will host the season opener for the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, as part of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring extravaganza March 15-18.

Jaeger, of Cincinnati, and Bonilla, of Orlando, Fla., have already been signed by the Fairfield, N.J.-based team for all 12 races on the 2006 Star Mazda schedule. They hope to follow in the footsteps of Robbie Pecorari and Graham Rahal, who finished second and fourth, respectively, in the championship last year while driving for AWR.

Testing on the same course that will host the season opener was a perfect way to tune up for 2006.

"It went really well; we're all gelling nicely," said Jaeger of the test. "We did a lot of work on the set-up. We had changing track conditions, which will help us with the 12-hour weekend. Overall it was perfect, but we had a slight rain shower during one of the lunch breaks and it was a little windy for a while.

"I actually stayed down there and ran in an SCCA nationals race that weekend too," Jaeger added. "There was a big pile-up so it wasn't much of a race, but I started and finished third."

"The standout of our Sebring test for me was the work performed by my engineer, Remi Lanteigne," said Bonilla. "He's a great influence on the mood and success of those around him. His knowledge and organizational abilities are great, and he's teaching me what I've been dying to learn all these years.

"For my part, it was great to drive at Sebring," Bonilla continued. "The combination of bumps, corner variety and speed made it very enjoyable."

Bonilla's test ended with a bang, unfortunately, when a bolt that holds the wishbone to the upright failed on the left-rear wheel of his car and he crashed in turn 17. "I slammed into the tires, but that's just racing," he said. "I was a little sore, but I didn't get hurt. I've already put it behind me.

"Brad is doing a great job, and our latest driver prospect, Ramiro Scuncio, did a nice job and has a positive attitude," Bonilla continued. "It's a team decision, but Ramiro has my vote of confidence.

"Is it March yet?" he added with a smile.

Rossella Manfrinato, who was Scuncio's engineer for the test, was also impressed with her young charge, who raced in Chile's Formula 3 series last year. "He's only 16, but he showed a great deal of maturity and patience in his approach to the test as we methodically worked up his speed," she said.

Another pre-season test to continue that work is set for March 6-7 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga.

More information may be obtained through AWR's Web site at andersenwalko.com or by calling Dan Andersen or Michelle Kish at (973) 287-5600. Jaeger's Web site is at bradjaeger.com and Bonilla's is at gerardobonilla.com. Other interesting spots for Web surfers include starmazda.com, americanlemans.com, speedtv.com, sebringraceway.com and restartcommunications.com.

-awr-

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Series Pro Mazda
Drivers Robbie Pecorari , Brad Jaeger , Rossella Manfrinato , Ramiro Scuncio , Gerardo Bonilla