Having spent two solid seasons in the USF2000 series, Aaron Telitz is due to be confirmed by Team Pelfrey as a Pro Mazda driver.
The Wisconsin native has spent the winter testing USF2000 cars for both Pabst Racing and RJB Motorsports, and Pro Mazda cars for Juncos Racing and World Speed Motorsports.
However, Telitz was driving a Pro Mazda car for Team Pelfrey at Sebring today as part of a two-day test. Although he wouldn’t say that he’s the Pro Mazda driver to be revealed live via Pelfrey’s YouTube channel on Friday, Motorsport.com sources have revealed that will be the case.
Said Telitz: “The opportunity to graduate would be huge, and I’ve got to say, Team Pelfrey is so organized and cleanly run. The race engineer Tom Knapp is a freaking genius, and I think they’ll be the team to beat.”
Telitz, who finished fourth in his rookie season of USF2000 with ArmsUp Motorsport, and third last year with Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing, said he had no problems adapting to the Pro Mazda cars, despite the 100hp step up and increased downforce.
“I think Pro Mazda cars really suit my driving style,” he said. “At my first test – at Sonoma with Juncos, a week after our final round of USF2000 –I was immediately comfortable.
"The things to get used to are the better brakes, carrying more speed in fast corners because of the increased downforce, and obviously better acceleration.
“But in all those areas it’s not what I’d regard as a big leap, I don’t think. Even in lap times, I think Pro Mazda is only 2.5sec quicker over a lap.”
Reflecting on his first two years on the Mazda Road to Indy, Telitz admitted he was more satisfied with 2014 than ’15.
He said, “I think I did a strong job in 2014 because I had financial peace of mind. I had the MazdaSpeed money from winning the Scholarship with Skip Barber, so I didn’t have to worry about bringing the budget myself.
“So I thought I drove well in a small team, ArmsUp, that hadn’t yet had a breakout year. So I was super-stoked to work with them and see us getting a win, a bunch of podiums and the Rookie of the Year title.
“Last year, I did have to raise my own funding, and the only place I felt confident could win the championship was Cape Motorsports,” continued Telitz, who saw his teammate Nico Jamin eventually dominate the points standings with 10 wins. Telitz took one win and 10 podium finishes.
“I felt I distracted myself worrying about money,” he admitted. “That held me back. In the first half of the season I was quick, but as budgets got tighter, I started worrying more instead of focusing on driving. That really shows in such a competitive series where every hundredth matters.
“So I put that blame on me, and I’ve learned from it. This year, I’ve got pretty much everything lined up now, so I can bounce back and free my mind to just concentrate on driving, and hopefully put myself at the top of the charts the whole time.”