One of the highlights of the off-season for the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires is the annual Chris Griffis Memorial Open Test which provides teams the opportunity to audition new talent and jumpstart their campaigns, and new drivers the chance to sample the waters.
This year’s test will see competitors return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course for a weekend outing at the iconic Brickyard on October 21/22.
For the first time, the revitalization of the entire Mazda Road to Indy ladder system will be on display as the new Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires Tatuus PM-18 chassis will make its debut. The PM-18 joins the Dallara IL-15, which launched in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires in 2015, and the Tatuus USF-17 that was introduced to rave reviews this year in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.
The first shipment of 15 cars will be delivered to teams in early September. The PM-18 rolling chassis is priced at $61,800 and will set the series standard for at least the next five years. Full details, including video highlights from series’ testing, can be found at http://pm-18.com/
Last year, 43 drivers representing 12 countries participated in the Chris Griffis Memorial Test across the three series. The test also saw teams turn their first laps with the USF-17. Of the 18 “new faces” that participated in USF2000 testing, 10 of those drivers now make up a 17-strong rookie class that includes Oliver Askew, Jason Clunie, Kory Enders, Kaylen Frederick, Dev Gore, Chandler Horton, Colin Kaminsky, Calvin Ming, Rinus VeeKay and Devin Wojcik.
The debut of the USF-17 also saw new teams entering the series including DEForce Racing, Exclusive Autosport, Newman Wachs Racing and Team BENIK.
“To see all three new cars together for the first time is a culmination of a dream that started back in 2013 when we were in the process of taking over the operation of Indy Lights,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “I honestly can’t wait. It’s been a tremendous journey and I have to thank our partners Dallara and Tatuus as well as our project managers Tony Cotman and Scot Elkins. They have really knocked it out of the ball park with cars that are relevant to what we want to provide as a complete driver development system highlighted by safety and technology.
“The Chris Griffis Memorial test is personally rewarding as I watch drivers take the next step on the ladder, including this year’s champions who will move up with the benefit of Mazda Scholarships, and welcome some new faces. We are excited to return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which is a key event in our regular season schedule that kicks off an exciting month of May.”
Registration details and a full schedule will be announced in the near future but teams and drivers can expect a similar timetable to 2016 which saw over five hours of track time for each series. Interested drivers can find team contact information on each of the series three websites and can also contact Andersen Promotions with any questions via firstname.lastname@example.org.