The Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires took to the newly paved track at Gateway Motorsports Park on Thursday as two of its series tested ahead of the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Valvoline race weekend.
Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires and the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires – the top two levels of the Mazda Road to Indy development ladder – tested on the 1.25-mile oval in Madison, Illinois, ahead of their Aug. 26 races as the undercard for the Verizon IndyCar Series main event that evening (9 p.m. ET, NBCSN and Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network).
Fourteen Indy Lights drivers participated in the test, including points leader Kyle Kaiser of Juncos Racing. The 21-year-old Californian enjoyed the fresh asphalt on the track.
"The new pavement is very different and a lot faster," Kaiser said. "There's a ton of grip out there. So, everything we had from testing here in the offseason, we pretty much threw away and we're starting fresh.
“With the smoother asphalt, you can run the cars a lot lower, which generates a lot more downforce. Race conditions probably will be similar to today. We're getting a good baseline and we can work off that for the race."
Following the Freedom 100 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May, the race at Gateway is the only other oval on the Indy Lights schedule.
Nine Pro Mazda drivers also tested at Gateway, including championship leaders Anthony Martin (Cape Motorsports) and Victor Franzoni (Juncos Racing). The Gateway event is the lone oval on the 2017 Pro Mazda calendar.
On-track action at the track outside St. Louis begins on Aug. 25, with Verizon IndyCar Series practice and qualifying along with practice for the two MRTI series. Indy Lights and Pro Mazda will each qualify and race on Aug. 26 ahead of the Verizon IndyCar Series race that evening.
For ticket information, visit gatewaymsp.com.
Addition of super trucks has Watkins Glen schedule overflowing
The INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen weekend will be full of action, with a total of nine races conducted across six series – climaxing with the Verizon IndyCar Series race on Sept. 3 at Watkins Glen International.
The SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks series is the latest addition to the weekend schedule for the popular road course in upstate New York, joining all three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper tires and the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup as support events.
The Sept. 1-3 race weekend serves as the season finale for the Mazda Road to Indy, with champions to be crowned in Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires, the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda.
The INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen is the penultimate race on the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule. The 60-lap event airs live at 1 p.m. ET Sept. 3 on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network. Ticket and camping information for the race weekend is available at theglen.com.