Palmetto, Fla. – Even though all three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy are currently engaged in championship battles which are unlikely to be settled until the final rounds at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, near Monterey, Calif., in September, Andersen Promotions already is planning toward the 2016 season. Confirmed today are a series of off-season testing dates, starting with the Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy Test at the renowned Circuit of The Americas near Austin, Texas, on November 21-22.
The fifth annual test, held in honor of accomplished Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian team manager Chris Griffis, who passed away unexpectedly in September 2011, will feature all three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy – the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires.
In addition to serving as a jumpstart on 2016 for established campaigns, the outing provides an “audition” opportunity for teams and drivers working on new programs and will see many drivers turning their first laps in their respective next steps on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder. The challenging 20-turn, 3.427-mile road course has drawn rave reviews since hosting its first United States Formula 1 Grand Prix in 2012.
Series officials also confirmed a two-day test for Indy Lights at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida on January 25 and January 27, 2016, as well as a four-day Cooper Tires Spring Training test at Barber Motorsports Park, featuring all three series, on March 5-8, 2016.
The first day of testing for the Indy Lights teams at Homestead will take place on the 2.3-mile, 11-turn road course. After a day to change over the cars’ specifications, the teams will take to the venue’s 1.5-mile oval for an additional day on January 27.
A tradition will be renewed on March 5-8 with the reintroduction of the popular Spring Training test, supported by Cooper Tires. All three series will be in action on the undulating 2.3-mile Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham., Ala., providing teams and drivers a low-pressure opportunity to gauge themselves in relation to their competition in advance of the racing season.
“We are excited to announce that our fifth annual Chris Griffis test will take place at COTA and will give our current drivers and newcomers to our series the opportunity to drive this state-of-the-art circuit,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “Numerous teams and drivers have used this as a ‘try-out’ and we are pleased to continue to offer this now traditional test.
“Based on the input from our team owners, we have decided to replace our pre-season Winterfest event with Spring Training at Barber, and will once again return to Homestead-Miami Speedway for a two-day Indy Lights test. Our 2016 schedule is coming together nicely, and we look forward to unveiling this in the coming months.”
Following this weekend’s race at Iowa Speedway for Indy Lights and Pro Mazda, two events remain on the current calendar with all three series heading to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on July 31-August 2 prior to the season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on September 11-13.
Image: Indy Lights