Back to Back Race Weekends Loom for DeFrancesco
 June 9, 2021| 
  • Team News
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  • Indy Lights returns to Detroit's Belle Isle
  • Tight street course followed by fast road course next on the championship schedule
  • DETROIT, Mich. – Miami-based Italian-Canadian Indy Lights racer Devlin DeFrancesco is set for upcoming back-to-back races in the next two weeks for Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport at two wildly contrasting circuits.

    DeFrancesco will hit the tight and twisty streets of Detroit’s Belle Isle Park this weekend for rounds seven and eight of the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship, followed a week later for rounds nine and 10 at what is the fastest circuit on the 2021 championship schedule - Elkhart Lake’s Road America.

    The two contrasting weeks will feature a 13-turn 2.35-mile street course this week, followed by a 14-turn 4.014-mile road course.

    This weekend will mark a return to Belle Isle for Indy Lights which has not raced here since 2012. In fact, Indy Lights has only raced here on the famous street circuit once in the past 21 years.

    The 2000 Indy Lights event set the existing lap record where Jonny Kane set the qualifying mark of 1:21.840 and the race lap record of 1:22.843.

    DeFrancesco will be looking to follow in the footsteps of many of the 2000 Indy Lights field – 13 of whom went on to race in INDYCAR/CART/ChampCar, including future race winner Mario Dominguez and INDYCAR legend Scott Dixon.

    The 2000 Indy Lights field went on to record a total of 620 INDYCAR/CART/ChampCar race starts, and 53 race wins.

    This weekend’s action will include a single practice session (9:50 am) and Race 1 qualifying (2:30 pm) on Friday; qualifying two (9:50 am) and Race 1 on Saturday (12:10 pm) and the final race on Sunday at 10:35 am.

    The following race weekend at Road America will mark a return to the venue where DeFrancesco made his debut for Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport in the Indy Pro 2000 championship last year.

    After scoring pole on debut, DeFrancesco came within inches of taking victory on debut at Road America last year.

    DeFrancesco enters this weekend on a high note after the recent announcement by PowerTap Hydrogen that it has signed to support DeFrancesco and Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport through to 2023. DeFrancesco’s other Indy Lights supporters include Kimoa – the fashion, clothing, and accessories brand founded by Fernando Alonso; world-class racing simulator manufacturer AIS; Apple’s largest premium retail partner, Simply Mac; software and services company Fyllo and Sol Yoga.

    DEVLIN DEFRANCESCO Q&A

    Q: How have you prepared for this weekend in Detroit on a road course where you cannot test in advance?
    A:
    “This is a weekend where pre-event work on my Allinsports simulator has been very important. I’ve already done a lot of laps in advance, so I have an idea of which way the track goes, the different camber on the road, the kerbs and the walls.

    “Our first job with Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport will be the track walk on Thursday to take at the kerbs and track surfaces for real. The simulations are very good, but things can change when you get to the track. We only have one practice session prior to qualifying, so it is important to prepare as well as we can in advance.”

    Q: How different will the next two weekends be - one of the slowest street courses on the calendar followed by one of the fastest road courses?
    A:
    “These two weekends will be dramatically different, but I’m really looking forward to the challenge. I’ve always been a massive fan of street courses, but Road America quickly became one of my favorite tracks in the world.

    “The great thing with the Andretti organization is that we have a lot of data from the IndyCar guys, which gives us a bit of an insight into the Detroit layout.

    “Obviously, the Indy car and the Indy Lights car are dramatically different, but there is a lot of information we can tap into that will give us a good starting point for this weekend.

    “For Road America next week – taking pole on debut in Indy Pro 2000 last year was a great introduction to Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport, and I can’t wait to get back there. But firstly, we’re just concentrating on this weekend ahead and pushing as hard as we can.”

    Q: How important will the next few races be in the championship chase?
    A:
    “After Road America, we’ll be at the halfway point in the championship, so it will be important to get through the next two weekends with a strong points haul. This championship is so competitive, and you have to be at the very top of your game every week. We’re going to be giving it everything in the next two weekends to ensure Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport is in a strong position as we reach the halfway point of the championship and the halfway point of the year.”


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