Anderson Racing tests young hopefuls
One of the many benefits Andersen Racing's karting and Star Mazda drivers enjoy is that their team already has a program in place at the next level of competition. This is very beneficial to young drivers because they can build on relationships they make within the team for continuity, as well as reap the benefits of Andersen Racing's many years of experience developing rising stars in open-wheel racing's ladder system.
Building on this unique structure, the team established a policy that each of its full-season Star Mazda drivers earns a test at the next level, Firestone Indy Lights, at the end of the year.
Richard Kent and Denis Navarro took advantage of that important benefit last week at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla., and got behind the wheel of a Firestone Indy Lights car for the first time. Conor Daly, who actually had the best results for the team this year when he finished third in the Star Mazda point standings, was unable to participate in the Lights test due to age restrictions, but he'll receive his test after he turns 18 on Dec. 15.
RLR/Andersen Racing's Mario Romancini, who won two Firestone Indy Lights races and the series' Force for Earth Hard Charger Award this year, was on hand to offer assistance and test on Sebring's short course too, as was another Firestone Indy Lights driver, Gustavo Yacaman.
"I was impressed with all four drivers," said John Andersen, the team's co-owner and Firestone Indy Lights team manager. "Nobody hit anything and nobody broke anything. They all progressed nicely and did a great job.
"Mario and Gustavo have a year under their belts so they already had experience in knowing how the car would respond to set-up changes," Andersen added. "Richard and Denis were both impressive too. They were respectful of the equipment, and did fine.
"Both Mario and Denis are from Sao Paulo, Brazil," he continued. "Mario's English is excellent, while Denis's English is improving. Mario was able to help with translations for Denis to make sure there were no language issues, and I think it was a very good test for everybody."
"The Lights test was excellent; I really enjoyed it," said Kent, of Clifton Reynes, England. "The car is really good. It was nice to have some more power and grip. I did 150 miles in the car; luckily the weather stayed dry."
Andersen Racing also had some Star Mazda cars on hand as it prepared for that series' 2010 season opener at Sebring this coming March. Geoff Fickling will be Andersen Racing's Star Mazda team manager in 2010.
Drivers wishing to obtain information on joining the team for future tests and the 2010 season may contact the team through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at (941) 723-3900.