Andersen Racing's Star Mazda Contingent Is Hard at Work at Sebring; Vassmer Tops First Test Session Tuesday Morning SEBRING, Fla., March 13 - Andersen Racing has a tough act to follow - it's own. The Fairfield, N.J.-based team won the pole for...
Andersen Racing's Star Mazda Contingent Is Hard at Work at Sebring; Vassmer Tops First Test Session Tuesday Morning
SEBRING, Fla., March 13 - Andersen Racing has a tough act to follow - it's own.
The Fairfield, N.J.-based team won the pole for last year's season opener of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear at Sebring International Raceway here when Brad Jaeger accomplished that and set a new track record of 2:01.002 (110.081 miles per hour) for the 3.7-mile road course. The team then followed those accomplishments by winning the 45-minute, 17-lap race by almost 5 seconds when Gerardo Bonilla took the checkered flag here 12 months ago.
The team is practicing at Sebring now and hoping to do as well - or even better - at this year's season opener, which has attracted 32 entries. Qualifying will be held at 1:35 p.m. Thursday, with the 45-minute race following at 3 p.m. Friday. On Tuesday the team was working on making their cars handle well, go fast, and still have limited wear on their Goodyear rubber.
Andersen Racing is unique. It offers up-and-coming drivers a structured program of Hankook Tires F2000 Championship, Star Mazda, and finally Indy Pro Series competition in order to prepare them for careers as professional race car drivers. In will compete in the Indy Pro Series this year in a partnership with top IndyCar team Rahal Letterman Racing.
This year Andersen Racing's hopes for winning the Star Mazda championship lie with three young series rookies from three different countries - England, the United States and Venezuela. The young rookies are Jonny Baker of Farnham Common, Buckinghamshire, England; Jonathan Goring of Norfolk, Conn.; and Ricardo Vassmer of Caracas, Venezuela and Coral Springs, Fla.
They're joined here at Sebring by two other drivers who are only doing selected races: Phil Saville of Oak Brook, Ill. and Michael Fitzgerald of Newtown Square, Pa. Saville has driven in this series before, including some races with Andersen Racing last year. Fitzgerald, another accomplished racer, is making his first start in this particular series.
Baker, 22, is a British Formula Ford star. He'll be in the No. 6, which has green trim, for his first race ever in the United States.
Goring, 17, won the championship of the Skip Barber National presented by RACER last year. He'll drive the No. 14, which has a red stripe and advertises the Skip Barber Racing School, Alfas Unlimited and NPA Graphics.
Vassmer, 23, has already made a statement here, as he topped the morning practice session today with a 2:00.924 (110.152 mph), which was faster than Jaeger's qualifying record. Vassmer, who was a star of the Cooper Tires F2000 series last year, drives the No. 25, which can be spotted by its bright blue stripe. It is sponsored by Zoom, a top courier service; Meridiano Television; and Santa Barbara Airlines.
Saville's No. 22 carries the colors of New York Jewelers of Chicago; NVG Residential; Mac Marketing & Advertising Corp. and Chicago Indoor Racing.
Fitzgerald's No. 99 is sponsored by Star CNC Machine Tools, LNS America, Lyndex, Penske Racing Shocks and Fitze Engineers.