The first official Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tire test session at the Homestead-Miami Speedway began promptly at 9am in the same manner that 2015 season ended at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca; with the majority of the deep field capable of a podium on any given weekend.

It was only a single second that covered the six veteran and five rookie drivers during the first three hour session. Leading the way were veteran pilots Ed Jones (Carlin), Shelby Blackstock (Andretti Autosport) and Zach Veach (Belardi Auto Racing), with Jones lapping at a session best 1:15.036. Nipping closely at the heel’s of the trio of more experienced drivers were freshman Zachary Claman De Melo (Juncos Racing) and reigning Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire champion Santiago Urrutia (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian).

It was Carlin teammates Jones (55) and Felix Serralles (54) who turned the most laps in the morning session, while Urrutia only needed 22 laps to break into the top five on the 2.21 mile, 14-turn roval at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Full times for the morning session are as follows:

Rank Driver Team Top Lap Total Laps
1 Ed Jones Carlin 01:15.0360 55
2 Shelby Blackstock Andretti Autosport 01:15.3873 43
3 Zach Veach Belardi Auto Racing 01:15.5952 37
4 Zachary Claman De Melo (R) Juncos Racing 01:15.6821 40
5 Santiago Urrutia (R) Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 01:15.7130 22
6 RC Enerson Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 01:15.7821 38
7 Felix Serralles Carlin 01:15.8965 54
8 Dalton Kellett (R) Andretti Autosport 01:16.0225 39
9 Felix Rosenqvist (R) Belardi Auto Racing 01:16.0250 45
10 Neil Alberico (R) Carlin 01:16.0448 41
11 Kyle Kaiser Juncos Racing 01:16.0719 29

We have been able to catch a few shots of driver’s new rides on social media.

Veach will be in the familiar Belardi Auto Racing No. 5. That is the same number that the 21 year-old’s good friend Gabby Chaves took to the Indy Lights championship while driving for Belardi in 2014.

Recent Carlin signee Neil Alberico will sport the No. 22 and for the test is in a primarily white livery with prominent Rising Star Racing branding. TSO expects to see other primary sponsors adorn the Mazda powered Dallara’s side pods throughout the season .

Puerto Rican sophomore Serralles made the move to Carlin during the off-season and it appears if he brought the No. 4 he drove last year with him from Belardi Auto Racing.

Rookie Dalton Kellett will continue with the familiar No. 28 he used with Andretti Autosport in Pro Mazda the past two seasons.

Unconfirmed Pro Mazda champion Santiago Urrutia is in the No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian ride that Scott Anderson drove in 2015, but it appears to be the chassis that Harvey drove last year as it retains the Racing Steps Foundation coloring from 2015.

Juncos Racing rookie Zachary Claman De Melo is listed as the No. 12 on the entry list, but as the No. 13 on timing and scoring.

Reigning FIA Formula 3 champion Felix Rosenqvist who is testing with Belardi Auto Racing is piloting the No. 14, in what appears to be a trade of the No. 4 and No. 14 between Belardi and Carlin.

The post-lunch break session began at 1pm, but some time passed before anybody ventured out on track. In fact, half-way through the four-hour afternoon session and Kellet, Rosenqvist, Alberico and morning session leader Jones had yet to turn a lap.

However, the delay in getting out on track this afternoon didn’t slow down Jones, as he led his second straight session in the Carlin No. 11. Times during the afternoon session continued to fall as the teams and drivers made adjustments to their cars and driving lines.

Urrutia was the only driver to rejoin Jones in the top five as he duplicated his morning session effort of the fifth quickest time. Joining the two morning speedsters this afternoon were Rosenqvist, RC Enerson, and Serralles.

Veach (53) and Enerson (48) turned the most laps, while Rosenqvist only needed 26 laps to jump near the top of the time sheet.

The afternoon time sheet looked like this:

Rank Driver Team Top Lap Total Laps
1 Ed Jones Carlin 1:14.538 30
2 Felix Rosenqvist Belardi Auto Racing 1:14.708 26
3 RC Enerson Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 1:15.025 48
4 Felix Serralles Carlin 1:15.141 29
5 Santiago Urrutia Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 1:15.168 32
6 Kyle Kaiser Juncos Racing 1:15.187 46
7 Zach Veach Belardi Auto Racing 1:15.221 53
8 Zachary Claman De Melo Juncos Racing 1:15.293 35
9 Shelby Blackstock Andretti Autosport 1:15.343 29
10 Neil Alberico Carlin 1:15.661 32
11 Dalton Kellett Andretti Autosport 1:16.583 43

The first day of testing during a brand new season can certainly provide a basic baseline for future, but it’s not a good idea to predict future results and pace from the first seven-hours of track time. Teams are often working on different programs and utilizing different tire strategies.

Combined times for the day were as follows:

Rank Driver Team Top Lap Total Laps
1 Ed Jones Carlin 1:14.538 85
2 Felix Rosenqvist Belardi Auto Racing 1:14.708 71
3 RC Enerson Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian 1:15.025 86
4 Felix Serralles Carlin 1:15.141 83
5 Santiago Urrutia Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian 1:15.168 54
6 Kyle Kaiser Juncos Racing 1:15.187 75
7 Zach Veach Belardi 1:15.221 90
8 Zachary Claman DeMelo Juncos Racing 1:15.293 75
9 Shelby Blackstock Andretti Autosport 1:15.343 72
10 Neil Alberico Carlin 1:15.661 73
11 Dalton Kellett Andretti Autosport 1:16:23 82

However the combined times after testing concludes tomorrow should provide a “fairly” reliable guide to future pace. Tomorrow’s schedule is as follows:
9am – 12pm —> on-track testing
noon – 1pm —> lunch
1pm – 5pm —> on track testing

Thanks for reading and TSO will be back with more tomorrow.