Early in the morning on Twitter, Sam Schmidt Motorsports driver Oliver Webb said it best: “No better way to spend your 21st birthday than racing around a beautiful Barber race track in an 200mph machine!”
The young Englishman, who recently relocated to Indianapolis, spent the milestone at Barber Motorsports Park learning his new machine before the season opener at St. Petersburg. On the final day of testing, Webb was one spot away from fastest in the second morning practice. The next practice for him and the rest of the Firestone Indy Lights field won’t be until Friday afternoon of race week.
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“For me, about 70-80 percent of the tracks I’ve never seen until the Friday of practice,” Webb said. “So it’s good for me to have the guys on the team (who have experience).”
Firestone Indy Lights ran a combined total of 1,205 laps during the two-day event in its first official series test of the season. The 2.38-mile road course plays host to the second race on the series’ 2012 calendar, which will run on April 1.
Sebastian Saavedra, newly returned to the series with AFS/Andretti Autosport, posted the quickest time of both days with a 1:16:7046 at a top speed of 107.947 mph. The 21-year-old Colombian spent time in the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2011, but joined Firestone Indy Lights this year to continue his development.
“It’s great to be back with Andretti Autosport,” Saavedra said. “I remember we had a great test here in 2009, and I wasn’t to race with them here, but right now we have a very competitive car.”
Victor Carbone was second fastest overall with a time of 01:17.0544 that he posted in Practice 5 on Tuesday morning. Gustavo Yacaman, third place winner in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in February, was third fastest. Esteban Guerrieri and Tristan Vautier rounded out the top five.