Wednesday
Jan272010

STAR MAZDA 'SPRING TRAINING' AT SEBRING CONCLUDES WITH 23 CARS ON TRACK

The first official Series test for teams and drivers competing in the 2010 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear concluded Sunday afternoon. With 23 cars taking to the track over the three-day, six-session test, a group that included a dozen returning drivers and 11 rookies, it was Conor Daly, the 2009 MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder scholarship winner who set the quickest time in the final session. Driving the #22 Juncos Racing Mazda, Daly, who won from the pole at New Jersey Motorsports Park and scored six podium finishes to clinch third in the championship in his rookie year, turned a lap of 2:00.588 (110.459 mph). The Star Mazda Championship lap record at Sebring is still held by Dane Cameron, the 2007 series champion, at 1:59.986.

It was a see-saw battle between Daly who drove for Andersen Racing last year but was in a Juncos Racing car for the test and Anders Krohn, also a race winner in 2009 with Mundill Racing who has switched back to Andersen Racing for 2010. Krohn, a Scandinavian racer predictably nicknamed ‘The Viking,’ won the 2008 F2000 championship driving for Andersen. Krohn, the first driver to announce his participation in the 2010 season, was quickest in the morning session on Sunday, with a lap of 2:00.742 (110.318 mph) in his Andersen Racing / Norse Cutting & Abandonment / Trallfa Industries / Colosseum Dental Mazda.

Also consistently near the top of the time sheets, and consistently the quickest driver with no previous Star Mazda Championship experience, was European formula Renault, Palmer Audi and FIA Formula 2 driver Tristan Vautier, driving the #37 car for Andersen Racing. Other drivers posting quick times during various sessions were Mikael Grenier (Andersen Racing), Richard Kent (Team GDT), Rusty Mitchell (Mitchell Motorsports) and, in a JDC Motorsports car, Connor De Phillippi, the 2009 Skip Barber Pro Series champion and winner of the 2010 MAZDASPEED ladder scholarship.

Expert (drivers aged 30 to 44) and Master (45 and older) Series drivers participating in the test included Gerry Kraut, co-owner of the championship-winning JDC Motorsports team who finished 2nd in the 2009 Master Series championship. Also on hand were J.W. Roberts (owner of Team GDT), Carlos Conde (American Speed Factory), Walt Bowlin (AIM Autosport) and Dom Bastien (Andersen Racing).

The season-opening event of the 11-weekend, 13-race 2010 Star Mazda Championship schedule takes place during the legendary 12 Hours of Sebring, March 19.

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