Firestone Indy Lights Open Test slated for May 5 at Indianapolis
Charlie Kimball has competed on some of the most famed circuits in the world as he worked his way up the racing ladder. Soon he’ll run his first laps on the world’s most famous oval – the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“It’s hallowed ground,” Kimball said. “It’s just like the Monaco Grand Prix or Le Mans. It’s definitely one of the most famous and important racetracks in the world. It’s a very special place. I grew up watching the Indy 500 on TV, and my family has a heritage there with my dad (Gordon Kimball) winning the race a few times as an engineer. I’m excited to drive there.”
Though the Firestone Freedom 100 won’t take place until May 22, teams will get their first look at the Speedway during an Open Test from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. May 5 on the famed 2.5-mile oval.
“The test day is going to be more important to us than the others because we’re a new team,” said Vision Racing’s James Davison, who made his Firestone Freedom 100 debut last year. “We really need the test to get a base setup and find out what will work on the car and what won’t. It’s very important to us to develop our package if we want to fight for the championship.”
For a newcomer, the test is equally important. It will be the first time they will drive around the track in a car that is second only in speed to the cars that will contest the Indianapolis 500.
"Indy is much bigger than Homestead, where we tested, or Kansas, but I think we should have a competitive car there,” said Mario Romancini, who will be racing his second-ever oval race at Indianapolis. “It's the most important race of the season, and I'm looking forward to it."
Added Kimball: “Having a test there is good because it’s a pretty daunting place if you’re not prepared for it. I learned a lot in my first oval race, and I got a lot of information that I can take forward. I can’t wait for the next ovals, and I can’t wait to take my sponsors to the Indy 500.”
For some, though, turning laps around Indianapolis isn’t a new experience. In fact, series points leader Jonathan Summerton and Richard Philippe won Formula BMW races on the road course. The test will be their first laps on the oval.
“I am very excited heading into Indy leading the championship and I am really excited to do the oval this time as I have won on the road course,” Summerton said. “I want to win on the oval. I feel this will be one of the biggest races for me. For me, it's a great chance to be on the same track that the Indy 500 is run on. All I can say is bring on May 22."