Plenty of Talent On Deck for Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy Test
Teams and drivers from all three levels of the highly acclaimed Mazda Road to Indy converged on Barber Motorsports Park near Birmingham, Ala., for the Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy Open Test. The two-day outing provided an opportunity for several new team and driver combinations to gain a head start on their preparations for 2014 as others evaluate program possibilities for next season.
The challenging 2.3-mile road course is part of the “regular” season schedule as Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda will be showcased next April 25-27 alongside the premier IndyCar Series.
Each of the three levels on the ladder boasts a mixture of newcomers and returning veterans for the test, many of them gaining their first on-track experience since the conclusion of the 2013 season. While weather and other circumstances have prevented several teams and drivers from making the trek to the scenic Barber circuit, over 40 drivers took part in the outing.
Garcia Looks Forward to a Strong Ending
With two races remaining in his first full season as a Firestone Indy Lights driver, Mexican native Juan Pablo Garcia has encountered a season full of experience.
“We’ve had a lot of good races and some not so good races,” Garcia noted. “It’s a tough sport. We started out running a pretty solid season but recently we have encountered a few issues. I know these aren’t a positive for my season but in the long run, each weekend is important to my development as a driver. I will learn a lot more from a difficult, more challenging season than I would if everything were perfect.”
JP has visited 10 tracks so far this season, 6 being brand new to him and his car,
“Thus far, my favorite tracks have been Long Beach and Toronto. I really enjoyed Long beach because I already knew the course and I felt very confident.”
Garcia not only enjoyed the track, but also the atmosphere of the Grand Prix of Long Beach.
“With my family having our U.S. home in San Diego, California has always had a special place in my heart,” Garcia mentioned. “So whenever we race in California it is extra comfortable for me. I also had a lot of friends and family attend the race so it was overall just a great weekend!”
Racing isn’t always about feeling comfortable and knowing what will happen next. JP has also had a few surprises during the season.
“The most surprising thing I have experienced this season is the way you have to drive an oval,” JP admitted. “It is a very different driving technique than a street or road course. This being my first year racing on multiple ovals, each track gets a little more familiar with time but everything is different on an oval.”
Juan Pablo Garcia and Jeffrey Mark Motorsport head into the final two races of the season in the Top 10 in points standings for the Firestone Indy Lights league. The team has had a great rookie year so far and is looking forward to finishing strong.
For more on scheduling visit IndyCar.com
Good morning race fans!
Saturday morning & I’m on my way to the St. Petersburg race track with my older brother Bob and my head of PR Lisa Singleton. The journey begins today with qualifications at 9am and the green flag drops at 3:30pm. The inaugural race for Jeffrey Mark Motorsport, JMM, & the #76 is obviously very exciting. We race in the Firestone Indy Lights series which is the last step in the Mazda Road to Indy. I already have butterflies in my stomach.
I received news from my head of PR, Lisa Singleton, prior to leaving Indianapolis that we may not have our team shirts for the weekend. A clothing company, not to be named, assured us everything would arrive by Thursday prior to the race….well, the good news is that we did receive the team pants. No need to worry race fans we’ve got the bottom part covered. It won’t be the first time I was at a race with no shirt.
The weather is supposed to be great today. Juan Pablo and the #76 Freightliner ran well yesterday in both practices ending the day in P6.
I look forward to letting you know how qualifications and the race finish today. Godspeed, Jeffrey Mark #76
Mygale have signed an agreement with the owners of both Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA) and Jeffrey Mark Motorsports, to form Mygale North America. Mygale North America will import Mygale race cars to the US and Canada, providing service and parts support for new and existing Mygale car owners.
Bryan Herta Autosport will campaign at least two cars in the twelve race 2012 F1600 Formula F Series, competing in the Mygale SJ11 chassis with Honda power. The Series was introduced to the U.S. in 1969 and has been a training ground ever since for future professional drivers.
“Honda introduced us to Bryan Herta and we realized it was a huge opportunity to work with one of the most professional teams in the USA,” said Mygale CEO, Bertrand Decoster. “We understood that we needed to come on board with the best organization and staff for our customers in North America. I personally believe that the Formula F1600 series will grow, as the USA needs a strong regional and national junior category.”
“We are already in contact with some other clients to join the Mygale family in the USA and Canada, and have just launched a production batch of five new cars. Both companies realize that there are many projects in the USA where we could come with a fresh and powerful package for the future.”
“F1600 and F2000 are time tested and proven steppingstones to the highest level of motorsports.” Said BHA CEO, Bryan Herta. “Mygale has become the worldwide leader for these chassis, as well as multiple other championships, so the opportunity to create a company that can distribute these winning cars to the North American market, while also creating a factory team to campaign works Mygale SJ11-Honda cars was extremely attractive.”
About Bryan Herta Autosport:
Founded by veteran driver Bryan Herta and noted race engineer and team manager Steve Newey, Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA) has been a race-winning team in Firestone Indy Lights competition since 2009 and recently won the 2011 Indianapolis 500 with driver Dan Wheldon in only its second IZOD IndyCar Series start. The Indianapolis, Ind.-based squad made its IndyCar debut in 2010 contesting the Indianapolis 500.
For more information visit BryanHertaAutosport.