Mazda Road to Indy veteran Matthew Brabham tested a Verizon IndyCar Series car yesterday at Iowa Speedway. The 21-year-old was also joined by Andretti Autosport teammate Marco Andretti.
Under Rule 6.2.3 in the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook, entrants are allocated two team test days for the purpose of testing a current Indy Lights driver. On-track time may be split with a team driver, but a team driver may not use more than 50 percent of the available track time. The elder third-generation racer, who most recently captured a third-place finish at Auto Club Speedway for last weekend’s MAVTV 500, will help set up the 27 car for Brabham.
“I had an absolute blast, I have wanted to drive an Indy car for so long now and to finally get a chance was awesome,” the 2013 Pro Mazda Champion said. “A big thank you to all the Andretti crew, they really helped me a lot and made me feel comfortable straight away. Driving an Indy car in anger for the first time was definitely different to what I am used to, the speed, power and downforce were a big jump. But it did not take me too long and I was up to speed quickly and started to work through the program the team wanted to do.”
“It was great working with Marco and drawing off his experience, a short oval is not the easiest place to drive for the first time in one of these cars, but with his and the teams’ help it all came together pretty quickly for me,” the Indianapolis resident added. “There were a lot more people around me than I normally have, a couple of engineers, all the crew and technicians form Honda and Firestone. There was a swarm of activity every time I came into the pits, it was really a cool experience and one I hope to do again soon.”
Team owner Michael Andretti said, “Being a team owner in the Mazda Road to Indy and the Verizon IndyCar Series provides us with some opportunities that maybe other teams in IndyCar aren’t taking advantage of. We have a lot of pride in our developmental programs, and when we’re able to help everyone within the team to grow in some way, we jump at those opportunities. Having Matt test the car will help him as a developing driver. He’s been a great addition to our team since he joined our Pro Mazda team, clinching the championship and moving up to our Indy Lights team and even helping us out overseas in Andretti Formula E.”
The top two rungs of the Mazda Road to Indy, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights, will join the Verizon IndyCar Series at the 0.894-mile oval on July 17 and 18 for the penultimate oval event of the 2015 season.