Mazda Road to Indy Racers Display Pace at Road America
 June 12, 2018| 
  • Series News

Pro Mazda and USF2000 Lap Records Unofficially Beaten During Open Test

A total of 48 drivers representing 14 nations this afternoon completed a two-day Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires open test at Road America in rural Wisconsin. All three levels of the acclaimed open-wheel development ladder, which offers scholarships for drivers to progress all the way from the grassroots of the sport to the Verizon IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500, saw action on the scenic and challenging 4.014-mile natural terrain road course.

Perfect weather conditions proved conducive to fast lap times, with several contenders unofficially bettering the existing records both for the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. Chicago’s David Malukas (BN Racing) became the first Pro Mazda driver to circulate at an average speed of over 120 mph, while fellow teenager Kaylen Frederick, from Potomac, Md., narrowly topped the USF2000 times for the Wisconsin-based Pabst Racing team.

Brazilian Victor Franzoni led the way among the slim but ultra-competitive field of Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Dallara-Mazda IL-15s for Juncos Racing.

All three series will return to Road America next week for the Kohler Grand Prix. A pair of races for each championship is set to be held in support of the Verizon IndyCar Series headline event.

Chicago Team, BN Racing, Leads the Way in Pro Mazda
The current state of competitiveness in Pro Mazda was perfectly exemplified at Road America as the top five lap times after five and a half hours of testing were posted by drivers representing as many different teams. It was no surprise, either, to see the long-standing lap record unofficially placed firmly in the rear-view mirror.

The new-for-2018 Tatuus-Mazda PM-18 has provided fresh impetus for Pro Mazda. It has also brought a dramatic escalation in speed.

Fastest of all was Chicago’s David Malukas (BN Racing), who first sprung to prominence one year ago at Road America when, in just his second USF2000 weekend, he qualified on pole and went on to finish second. Malukas’ best lap of 2:00.3640 this morning represented an astonishing average speed of 120.056 mph. The existing qualifying lap record, set by Adrian Carrio at 2:03.849 (117.666 mph), dates back to 2006.

“It’s good to get to a track that we’ve already been to, since we know the basic setup as a reference,” said the 17-year-old Malukas. “Obviously, it’s a lot quicker in the Pro Mazda car than the USF-17. With the added downforce, the car is more stable. I feel like I have a good grip on the car, which is good in the high-speed corners. The Kink and the Carousel feel even more stable. We’ve made a lot of changes in the car so we’re really happy with this test and the amount of information we’ve gained. These days will help a lot when it comes to the race weekend.

“And it feels good to come back here; it’s one of my favorite tracks even though I only raced here last year in USF2000. My dad raced here when I was a kid; I came here a lot and have a lot of good memories. Being at Road America is really what got me into racing.”

Dutchman Rinus VeeKay, who won both USF2000 races at Road America last year, was second fastest for Juncos Racing at 2:00.5057, followed by series points leader Parker Thompson (Exclusive Autosport), from Red Deer, Alb., Canada, Mexico’s Andres Gutierrez (Team Pelfrey) and Englishman Harrison Scott (RP Motorsport Racing).

Fellow Englishman Toby Sowery made an impressive debut by setting the seventh fastest time in a second BN Racing entry, while Mexico’s Raul Guzman, who joined RP Motorsport for the first time, was among the top 10 in every session.

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