Championship leader Tristan Vautier, who turned the quickest time of the Star Mazda Championship's official oval track test this weekend at the Milwaukee Mile. Vautier's best lap of 27.489 sec. (103.961mph) with his JDC Motorsports / Cecibon / Circuit du Laquais Mazda was almost half a second faster than Richard Kent's pole time of 27.971 (128.705mph) from the last Star Mazda race held at this track in 2009.
Second-quick was Florida driver Nick Andries with a lap of 27.637 sec. (130.260mph) in the Team Pelfrey / Lithionics Battery / GS610 Brake Fluid / Trademark Garage FloorsMazda. Third fastest was 2010 USF2000 champion Sage Karam. Driving for Andretti Autosport with scholarship funding from the Mazda Road to Indy program, the young wrestler/racer who hails from the Andretti family hometown of Nazareth, PA, turned a lap of 27.709 sec. (129.922mph) in the Andretti Autosport / MAZDASPEED / Comfort Revolution Mazda.
Demonstrating clearly that her significantly improved 2011 form is no fluke, and that she is now a serious contender for the top spot on the podium on any given weekend, the fourth-fast time of 27.758 sec. (129.693mph) was set by Colombian driver Tatiana Calderon, the lone female driver in the Star Mazda Championship. Rounding out the top-5 was Californian Connor De Phillippi with a lap of 27.923 sec. (128.926 mph) in the Team Pelfrey / Justice Brothers Products / Trademark Garage Floors Mazda. De Phillippi was the 2009 Skip Barber Pro Series champion and raced the 2010 Star Mazda season with scholarship funding from the Mazda Road to Indy program.
"The weather prevented us from getting in all the scheduled running time, but everyone agreed it was a productive test and that the next three races, all ovals, will be extremely competitive," said Gary Rodrigues, founder and president of Star Mazda. "We had a few minor incidents, but nothing serious, and we got to test the new in-car yellow-light warning system that will be in all the cars for the Night Before the 500. We'll have another three-hour test session on Friday night at Lucas Oil Raceway, which should tighten up the field even more. With the top-6 cars already within half a second of each other, and the top-10 within one second, fans of Star Mazda Championship and the Mazda Road to Indy are going to see a lot of exciting, wheel-to-wheel racing in the next three races."