Twenty-five Mazda Road to Indy drivers participated in the fourth Chris Griffis Memorial Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on Sept. 13-14.
Spencer Pigot led the charge in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires testing. Driving for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian, the 2014 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires title holder was quickest in each of the four outings. NASCAR Sprint Cup rookie Parker Kligerman was second on the time sheets, also driving for the Schmidt Peterson squad.
Click it: Photo gallery || Video -- Kligerman's recap
"I have had a lot of fun driving the Lights car," Pigot said. "When you put your foot down, it really gets going which is nice. It is great to work with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. The guys have a lot of experience especially with this car and I am definitely learning a lot and will hopefully carry that into next season. The biggest adjustment is getting used to the size of the car and how heavy it is. It is a lot bigger than the Pro Mazda car and its takes a lot more effort to get the car turned and stopped. It is just something you have to get used to. It's not the first time I have driven the Lights car so nothing really surprising."
Kligerman was three-tenths of a second off Pigot's pace in the final session.
"I have definitely had fun; no doubt about that," he said. "It has been awesome to drive this car. I am actually a bit beat up in a few places. At the same time, I was surprised at how quickly I got up to speed and was second in the second session. It is cool to out and do something completely different you have never done in a lot of ways and start to understand it and see yourself progress. With all the things that they have for data, you can see it, feel it and get better."
The Pro Mazda field saw several Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda drivers turning their first laps, including champion Florian Latorre, Austin Cindric and Peter Portante. Neil Alberico (Andretti Autosport), Sonoma race winner Jose Gutierrez (Juncos Racing) and 15-year-old Patricio O'Ward (Team Pelfrey) all shared time at the top of the time sheets.
Nico Jamin unofficially topped the time sheets in USF2000 testing with defending champions Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor. Victor Franzoni (Afterburner Autosport) was second and Jake Eidson (Pabst Racing) third. Parker Thompson of Red Deer, Alberta, also turned a few heads, testing with both the Cape team and JDC MotorSports.
"This has been an incredible experience," said Thompson, a protege of 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice. "It is a huge learning curve. I had to learn the car and the track all at the same time in two one-hour sessions, but both teams have been awesome in helping me out and giving me what I need in the data acquisition in pointing out things in my driving that I can fix and it's been incredible. I would love to get on the Mazda Road to Indy. I think it would be a great opportunity to show my skill and talent. USF2000 looks great. Hopefully we can find a team and make it happen for next season."