Conor Daly, who claimed the 2010 championship of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear, will utilize part of his career-enhancing prize package on Oct. 28 in Sebring, Fla., when he climbs into the seat of an Andersen Racing Firestone Indy Lights car to begin a day of intensive testing. Daly who tested last week in a GP3 car and made clear his first choice for next season is to race in Europe's training formula, is nevertheless eager to take advantage of the additional seat time.
The test, funded by Performance Friction, is part of a previously announced expansion of the Indy Racing League's "Road to Indy" program in which the 2009 and 2010 Star Mazda series champion is guaranteed a test with a top Firestone Indy Lights team.
"I'm really looking forward to the test and expect to learn a lot," said Daly, the son of former Indy car and Formula 1 racer Derek Daly. "Anytime a driver has the chance to get in a car with more horsepower, more downforce and more speed, it's both a pleasure and an opportunity. I'd like to thank Star Mazda, Performance Friction and Andersen Racing for all the effort they're making to help me take my career to the next level."
Daly's Indy Lights test is one element of a comprehensive package of cash and prizes valued at more than $1.5 million for which drivers in the 2010 Star Mazda Championship were competing.
"Our goal has always been to provide our drivers with the most competitive, cost-effective and comprehensive opportunity to advance their careers," said Star Mazda Championship founder and CEO Gary Rodrigues. "Conor is obviously a superb open-wheel racer destined to rise to the top of the sport and we're happy to help him take the next step. This test is made possible by Performance Friction Company and Andersen Racing, and we'd like to thank them for their support."
The Andersen team expects Daly to run 150 test miles during the day. 2010 Andersen Racing Star Mazda drivers Tristan Vautier and Nick Andries will also test the team's Firestone Indy Lights cars at Sebring.
"With Andersen Racing's involvement in all steps on the Road to Indy ladder, we are delighted to work with Performance Friction and Star Mazda in providing Conor with a full-scale Indy Lights test," says Andersen Racing co-owner Dan Andersen. "My long-term relationship with the folks at PFC, coupled with our involvement in and support of the Star Mazda Championship for the past seven years, makes this an easy decision. So many Star Mazda drivers in recent years have successfully transitioned into Indy Lights, and now with the support of PFC, more drivers can sample the next step properly. We look forward to seeing what Conor can do at the wheel of one of our cars at Sebring."
Two drivers who competed for Andersen Racing in the Star Mazda Championship this year will also test Indy Lights cars at Sebring. French racer Tristan Vautier, a veteran of several European open-wheel series, won two Star Mazda races this season and finished fifth in the championship. Nick Andries, who made his Star Mazda debut at St. Petersburg, ran nine of 13 races, finished in the top 10 four times. Competing in the Skip Barber National series concurrently with his Star Mazda effort, he won the season finale at Road Atlanta and finished sixth in that championship.