Luiz Razia

Luiz Razia, the 2012 GP2 Series championship runner-up, says that competing in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires is an option for the 2014 season as a potential stepping stone to the IndyCar Series.

Razia, in a Schmidt Peterson Motorsports car, was among 10 drivers participating an Open Test Jan. 7-8 on the Sebring International Raceway short circuit. Jack Harvey, who was introduced as an Indy Lights driver for the team in mid-December, and Juan Piedrahita also were in Schmidt Peterson Motorsports cars.

Razia, 24, of Brazil, arrived in Indianapolis in December to explore open-wheel racing opportunities after competing in Europe since 2007.

“I visited some IndyCar (Series) teams and Indy Lights teams and my manager came up with this test with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, which is the perfect team for me because they have so many championships and much knowledge,” Razia said.

“Any opportunity that leads to something bigger is great. To be honest, I know I have the speed and talent to be in (the IndyCar Series), but also it’s good to know the business around the series, the people, how the competition is, the rules and the tracks. If it was in Europe, I know all the tracks, but here it’s all different and you have to be a very fast runner to be competitive straight away.

“Indy Lights is a series that can promote you to Indy and we’ll explore it.”

Razia raced in the International GT Open series in 2013 after his aspirations to drive for Marussia in Formula One came unglued because of budget issues. He graduated to the GP2 Series in 2009 following stints in the Euroseries 3000, Italian Formula 3000 and the Formula Renault 3.5 Series the previous two years.

“All my life I drove for an F1 career,” he said. “When sponsorship dropped out it was pretty hard for me. It was like the end of a dream. So I took the year driving sports cars. We won the championship, but that was a low-profile championship in Europe. We took it back to the ground kind of after that and my manager told me a lot about America.

“It’s good to be back in a single-seater. I was not happy in the GT; I’m a single-seater guy. I like to set up the car and work with engineers. It’s just a much better feeling. You don’t have to share the car with anyone else.”

Razia totaled 143 laps in three sessions (the first was canceled because of cold temperature) on the 1.68-mile course in the No. 8 car. Zach Veach of Andretti Autosport recorded the quickest lap of the group.

“The team is very organized. The car is old but very fun,” said Razia, referencing the Dallara chassis entering its final year of competition. “It’s a bit downgrade on power, but that doesn’t mean the fun is out. The gear shift brings me back to the days when I drove Formula 3 that requires a bit more of driving technique.”

Cooper Tires Winterfest testing at New Orleans Motorsports Park (Feb. 21-22) and Barber Motorsports Park (Feb. 25-26) is the next scheduled on-track dates. The 14-race Indy Lights season opener is March 30 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., as part of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg weekend.