Schmidt Peterson Motorsports rookie Jack Hawksworth of England said it best: “IMS is a racetrack that every driver growing up knows about, whether you’re brought up racing in America, Europe, Asia or anywhere else in the world for that matter.”
The landmark venue will host 11 Firestone Indy Lights drivers for a May 2 Open Test as they begin preparations for the Firestone Freedom 100 as part of Coors Lite Carb Day May 24.
In addition to racing on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time, Hawksworth will be testing at the track for the first time in a Firestone Indy Lights car. Teammates Gabby Chaves and Sage Karam, along with Andretti Autosport rookie Zach Veach, have tested in Firestone Indy Lights cars on the road course at the Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy test in October. Hawksworth participated in the 2011 test in a Pro Mazda car.
“I’ll just be looking to get comfortable with the track on my own and in traffic. That is my only aim for this test,” said Hawksworth, who is second in the championship standings entering the fourth race of the season. “If we can achieve those two things I’ll walk away from the test very happy.”
Kyle O’Gara, who will make his Firestone Indy Lights debut in a Schmidt Peterson Motorsports car at the Speedway, and newcomer Jimmy Simpson with Team Moore Racing also are scheduled to be on the track. Points leader Carlos Munoz also will turn laps in preparation of his doubleheader weekend with Andretti Autosport in the Firestone Freedom 100 and the Indianapolis 500.
IZOD IndyCar Series drivers Josef Newgarden (2011) and Ed Carpenter (2003) have won the Firestone Freedom 100. While it’s easy to get caught up in the experience, Hawksworth is keeping a level head in his hunt for another series championship.
“Obviously it would be great to win at such a prestigious venue and such a great event, but in the big picture it is just another race that pays the exact same amount of points as any other,” said Hawksworth, the 2012 Star Mazda champion. “We need to maximize what we have at the track on Carb Day because collecting as many points as possible and winning the championship is what really counts.”
Fans can attend the open test and watch from the viewing mounds or the south terrace grandstands. Track activity begins at 8 a.m. (ET) and ends at 5 p.m.