Homestead, Florida – The 2014 Pro Mazda Champions Juncos Racing made their first start to the 2015 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires season at the official series tests this week on January 25th at Palm Beach International Raceway (PBIR) and January 28th on the road course at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Drivers participated in a total of six test sessions over the two days.
The Juncos Racing crew turned the quickest laps at the PBIR test this week when Jose Gutierrez (Monterrey, Mexico) laid down 88 laps in the #7 Juncos Racing car and posted the fastest time with a 1:11.8663. Rookie Will Owen (Castle Rock, Colorado) gave an impressive run in the #23 Juncos Racing car. Teammates Garett Grist (Grimsby, Ontario, Canada) in the #5 car and rookie Timothe Buret (Montpellier, France) driving the #6 showed great consistency in their pace throughout each test session.
The team carried the strong momentum into testing on the 2.21 mile, 14-turn road course at Homestead-Miami Speedway located in Homestead, Florida. Gutierrez finished at the top in two of the three test sessions with a best time of 1:22.9470 while rookie Owen finished close behind with a time of 1:22.9782. Grist and Buret continued to post quick times as they adjusted to the team and car.
Proving the Juncos Racing Driver Development program's effect, Team Owner Ricardo Juncos was thrilled to see returning driver GutiÃƒÂ©rrez fastest overall in the first start to his sophomore season, along with the performance of Grist, Owen, and Buret posting times on the same pace throughout the two-day test between PBIR and Homestead-Miami Speedway.
"I am very pleased with the overall results of our first official tests of the 2015 season," said Juncos. "JosÃƒÂ© returning after his rookie season with us and running in the front of the field proves what success we achieve with our driver development program. Garett is quickly adapting to our team and car and I look forward to seeing him as one of the strongest veterans in the field. Our rookies Timothe and Will showed really impressive results during both days of testing and I am confident they will be some of the strongest rookies this year. Our 2015 development has been underway for some time now, but being able to see all the hard work of our organization directly relate to an increase in performance is truly rewarding. I look forward to seeing all four of our drivers on the podium this year."
Timothe Buret (Montpellier, France): "I am very satisfied with the first two official test days. The team did a great job to provide me with a fast and reliable car. We took advantage of the test days to optimize my driving skills and learn more about the way the team works together, along with the series and a getting a better understanding of the car. After testing we will now concentrate on my performance and understanding of the car with the Cooper Tires and how to get the best performance out of them. I'm looking forward to the next time we get on track to continue to work with Ricardo (Juncos) and all of the great people I have met at Juncos Racing. I am confident I will be able to show my best driving skills by the start of the 2015 season."
Garett Grist (Grimsby, Ontario, Canada): "Overall I am happy with the two days of testing we had this week. The first one was really a shake down for the car and for me to get a better understanding of how the team works. The second day we were able to focus more on my driving and the car. We learned more about what I like in a car and how to get it that way. Peter (Dempsey) and everyone else on the team have done a great job. Everyone works well together and we are all on the same page. It's very early in the season, but so far we are off to a good start."
Jose Gutierrez (Monterrey, Mexico): "Testing at PBIR and Homestead was really good for the team. At PBIR we were the fastest throughout the whole day. Homestead was a new track for me so I needed to learn the track. We were the fastest in sessions one and two, which was very positive for the team. I am 100% ready and confident with the car going into the first race of Winterfest at NOLA."
Will Owen (Castle Rock, Colorado, USA): "My first two official test days have been very successful. I achieved my goal of getting used to working with the team and had some good results in the process. I learned that I am quickest on newer tires, but struggle once the tires wear out. My next goal is to improve the areas where I struggle before Winterfest begins. Once again I saw how much passion lies in the Juncos Racing team and I can't wait to see what we can achieve once the season starts."
The Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires kicks off the 2015 season with the Cooper Tires Winterfest championship February 19- 20 on the 2.75-mile, 16-turn road course at NOLA Motorsports Park located in Avondale, Louisiana. For more information please visit juncosracing.com and promazdachampionship.com. Juncos Racing