Mazda Road to Indy Racers Display Pace at Road America
 June 12, 2018| 
  • Series News
Franzoni web
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – A total of 48 drivers representing 14 nations this afternoon completed a two-day Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires open test at Road America in rural Wisconsin. All three levels of the acclaimed open-wheel development ladder, which offers scholarships for drivers to progress all the way from the grassroots of the sport to the Verizon IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500, saw action on the scenic and challenging 4.014-mile natural terrain road course.

Perfect weather conditions proved conducive to fast lap times, with several contenders unofficially bettering the existing records both for the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. Chicago’s David Malukas (BN Racing) became the first Pro Mazda driver to circulate at an average speed of over 120 mph, while fellow teenager Kaylen Frederick, from Potomac, Md., narrowly topped the USF2000 times for the Wisconsin-based Pabst Racing team.

Brazilian Victor Franzoni led the way among the slim but ultra-competitive field of Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Dallara-Mazda IL-15s for Juncos Racing.

All three series will return to Road America next week for the Kohler Grand Prix. A pair of races for each championship is set to be held in support of the Verizon IndyCar Series headline event.

Franzoni Fastest in Indy Lights
Last year’s Pro Mazda champion, Victor Franzoni, continued his steady rise toward prominence on the highest level of the Mazda Road to Indy as he set the fastest time in three of the four test sessions for Juncos Racing.

“The test was really good,” said Franzoni. “We’re improving every time we go to the track and, here, we started super-fast and just kept getting better. This is the first time I’ve tested the Indy Lights car at Road America and, really, everything is different from the Pro Mazda car: the braking points are later, the speed is way faster, it’s better in everything! It took a few laps to get used to it.

“We were super-fast at the Freedom 100 and just had bad luck. We gained a lot of confidence last month and we are bringing that here, especially since this is the kind of track I really like. We’re working on a car that’s fast and really suits me well, so I’m very confident going into the race. If we continue this way, we’ll be really strong on the race weekend.”

Franzoni’s best time, 1:52.7325, an average speed of 128.183 mph, was set this morning.

Patricio “Pato” O’Ward, who won three of the first four races this season for Andretti Autosport, was fractionally slower at 1:52.8097.

Teammate Ryan Norman, from Aurora, Ohio, who recorded the best finish of his rookie campaign, fourth, at Road America last year continued his progress by posting the third fastest time at 1:53.3538. Norman edged out Belardi Auto Racing teammates Santiago “Santi” Urrutia, from Uruguay, and Wisconsin native Aaron Telitz, plus championship leader Colton Herta (Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing), who were all blanketed by less than a tenth of a second.
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