JDC MOTORSPORTS LOGS PRODUCTIVE STAR MAZDA SEBRING TEST Joel Miller and Caio Lara firmly among leaders in first official test of the season SEBRING, FLA. (January 30, 2009) -- For JDC MotorSports, the 2009 season is already off to a good start.
JDC MOTORSPORTS LOGS PRODUCTIVE STAR MAZDA SEBRING TEST
Joel Miller and Caio Lara firmly among leaders in first official test of the season
SEBRING, FLA. (January 30, 2009) -- For JDC MotorSports, the 2009 season is already off to a good start. The 2007 Star Mazda Championship driver and team champions traveled to Sebring International Raceway in central Florida on January 27-28 to take part in two days of official series testing. As part of the IMSA "Spring Training", the Minnesota-based team not only worked out assorted kinks for the 2009 campaign, but it also showcased why it will be one of the favorites for top honors this coming season. With 2008 series runner-up Joel Miller, Masters Series runner-up Gerry Kraut, Brazilian Caio Lara and Venezuelan Gustavo Linares getting behind the wheel, JDC Motorsports was regularly among the top-five during the five hour-long test sessions, leading the way on two occasions.
The two-day official Star Mazda Championship test got underway just after the lunch break on Tuesday afternoon (Jan. 25). Like many of the teams on-hand, JDC MotorSports utilized the first hour-long session to ensure that their cars were working properly and to get the drivers acclimated to the track and its conditions. Despite not focusing on turning fast laps in the session, the JDC pilots quickly rose to the forefront. When the session concluded, Miller had posted the second fastest lap (2:01.851), followed closely by Kraut and Lara, who turned the fourth (2:03.468) and fifth (2:04.135) fastest times, respectively. Linares, piloting a Star Mazda car for the first time, was 17th in the order.
Having established a baseline from which to work, the JDC crew began adding the new car upgrades, one at a time during the second test session at the end of day one. Once again displaying why the JDC MotorSports race pilots will enter the 2009 campaign as drivers worth watching, Lara and Miller posted the second and third fastest times in the hour-long session. Kraut remained within the top-10 in the slower afternoon session, while Linares found an additional second of speed as he became more familiar to the high-speed open-wheel car.
Returning to the high-speed 3.7-mile road course one day later, day two of official series testing consisted of two morning one-hour sessions and a single afternoon session. Remaining focused on their pre-planned testing program, the JDC MotorSports cars continued to show good speed throughout the day. In the first session, which proved to be the quickest of the day, both Miller and Lara were right near the top of the speed charts, as the returning series duo posted the third and fourth fastest times. Miller was one of only three drivers to post a two-minute lap, crossing the stripe in 2:00.945, while Lara posted a lap 2:01.346, his best of the test. Continuing to find more speed each time he got behind the wheel, Linares was 16th fastest, just hundreds of a second slower than the two drivers ahead of him on the speed charts. Kraut ran only the second session, but not the first or last session, due to work commitments.
After a short break, the JDC drivers were back on-course for another session. Despite not running new sticker tires like many of the other drivers, Miller was the man to beat in the fourth test session, turning the fastest lap by over half a second. Linares once again showed improvement behind the wheel during the session, while Lara did not go out, as the JDC crew worked on assorted things on his car. Caio did run this session, but did not have his transponder affixed to the car as the team was changing wings. Lara was just a couple tenths off of Miller and would have been second during the session based on the times recorded by the team's data acquisition system.
Further indicating that JDC MotorSports is once again poised to challenge in 2009, the final test session ended on a high note. Lara had been among the top-five in each session that he had contested and led the way in the fifth session, narrowly missing his fastest time of the two-day affair. Miller continued his strong showing on used tires, posting the fourth fastest time, while Linares ended the day 16th on the time charts.
"I'm very pleased with how the two-day test went at Sebring," stated JDC MotorSports owner John Church. "We had a plan going in and we stuck to it, steadily learning how the new upgrades affect the car. To do that and still be among the quickest in every session, particularly when we did not run new tires, I think shows we are ready to challenge for the title in 2009.
"I really enjoyed working Joel again," added Church. "I'm hopeful he will find the funding and will be back behind the wheel shortly. I think both Caio and Gerry showed that they have the skill and speed to challenge for their respective class titles this coming season and I'm confident that we can give them tools to win races. I also believe that as Gustavo gets more seat time he will be a driver worth watching. Add in the fact that we still in talks with one very talented driver and I believe we are set to regain the championship crown this coming season."
The JDC MotorSports crew now returns to its home base in Minnesota to begin preparations for further off-season testing, and the 2009 Star Mazda Championship season-opener on March 20th at Sebring International Raceway.