Cooper Tires Winterfest update #2 – Feb. 18th

Going back to the morning session before getting started on this afternoon. Enersen’s red flag was caused by a gearbox issue. The team corrected the issue and he was able to get back out for the afternoon session. Harvey’s red flag was caused when the engine shut off after riding the rev limiter.

Belardi Auto Racing’s Felix Serralles put down the quickest lap of the day in the last 15 minutes of an afternoon session that was extended because of a late start due to cold weather this morning. His top lap of 85.069 seconds came during his 60th of 62 laps.

The top 7 drivers were all within one second of Serralles.

Here are the results for this afternoon’s session. It was a very disjointed session with seven red flags interrupting any rhythm the drivers found.

Rank Car No. Driver Fastest Lap
1 4 Felix Serralles 1:25.069
2 14 Max Chilton 1:25.311
3 42 Jack Harvey 1:25.461
4 12 Spencer Pigot 1:25.476
5 51 Shelby Blackstock 1:25.578
6 18 Kyle Kaiser 1:25.850
7 7 RC Enerson 1:25.976
8 77 Scott Anderson 1:26.274
9 11 Ed Jones 1:26.400
10 71 Ethan Ringel 1:27.828
11 5 Juan Piedrahita 1:29.214

Red #1 was for Juan Piedrahita who had an off and got stuck in the mud. He damaged the front wing and was not able to get back out on track before the day ended.

Red #2 was for Shelby Blackstock, who needed a tow-in from the south end of the track.

Red #3 was for Ethan Ringel, who also needed a tow-in from the south end of the track.

Red #4 was for Ed Jones, who had an issue on the south end of the track and needed to be towed back in.

Red #5 was for Shelby Blackstock, who spun in the final corner and stalled while trying to get going again.

Red #6 was for Ed Jones who needed a tow-in after encountering a problem at the north end of the track.

Red #7 was for Max Chilton, who got towed-in after experiencing a problem at the south end of the race track.

Most of the red flags were for niggly (Tony Cotman’s word) mechanical issues, which isn’t a big surprise for a brand new car. That’s why they go testing.

RC Enerson was able to use one set of tires for just over 100 miles without much of a drop in lap times. 100 miles is the race distance of most Indy Lights races.

A trip off course at NOLA Motorsports Park will likely mean a trip to the Dallara trailer for some new parts. The combination of a the type of grass and naturally wet surroundings equates to cars “digging in” when going off course.

Talked to a driver who said that you have to be careful not to drop the wheels off the kerbs at corner exit. They are fairly extreme, provide a big jolt if you get them wrong and it’s a good way to damage your car.

Learned from an Andersen Promotions official that Moore Racing is getting closer to getting on track, and there is possibility that we will see them next week at the Barber Motorsports Park test.

Geoff Fickling, who engineered Gabby Chaves to the 2014 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tire title will be Ed Jones engineer at Carlin. Fickling worked with Sage Karam and Jack Hawksworth at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in 2013. Max Chilton is being engineered by Matt Greasley. Greasely is currently engineering the Mahindra Racing (Carlin) FIA Formula E entry and was also an engineer in the teams F3 program last year. He also has open wheel experience in GP2 and World Series by Renault. American sports car fans might recognize his name as he was an engineer with Level 5 in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship for portions of 2013 and 2014.

The car that Max Chilton drove at Homestead-Miami Speedway was the series prototype, as Carlin was waiting for their second car to be built. The car he is driving for this test was just completed, and turned it’s first miles this morning.

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports pilot Ethan Ringel will be engineered by Eric Zeto. The University of Waterloo grad, started his career at Reynard before becoming technical director at Forsythe Championship Racing. He has also had stints at Conquest Racing and Dragon Racing.

Something that I didn’t think about until today, is the logistics behind supplying tires to three different series. Cooper Tire brought five transport trailers to NOLA Motorsports Park for three days of Cooper Tires Winterfest. Four of those are full of tires and the fifth one carries all the equipment to make all of the tire changes.

There is a brand new Mazda Road To Indy Pace Car for 2015. A spiffy new deep red/maroon Mazda3 with Motegi wheels and Cooper Tires.

The brand new Mazda3 that will pace all Mazda Road To Indy  races this season.
The brand new Mazda3 that will pace all Mazda Road To Indy races this season.

The rides of last years Mazda Road To Indy scholarship winners, Spencer Pigot and Florian Latorre are both the same deep red/maroon color as the Mazda SkyActiv prototypes the run in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. A great branding exercise.