The HMD Motorsports / Global Racing Group armada waits for the fog to lift at Sebring International Raceway (link to HMD Motorsports Instagram Post)

By Steve Wittich

After a day of NTT INDYCAR SERIES testing on the 10-turn, 1.7-mile circuit Sebring International Raceway “short course,” it was time for the first of two days of team testing in central Florida for a baker’s dozen Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires drivers.

Newly signed Global Racing Group w/ HMD Motorsports veteran Benjamin Pedersen led the way during the first day. The 22-year-old, who had six podiums in his rookie Indy Lights season, set the pace with a lap timed at 56.3564 seconds.

Hunter McElrea (Andretti Autosport) ended his day only one-tenth of a second behind Pedersen in the test, which saw the top six within four-tenths of a second of the top spot.

Drivers representing HMD Motorsports/Global Racing Group and Andretti Autosport split those six spots evenly. Danial Frost and Manuel Sulaiman finished the first of two days with the third and fourth-best times, while Andretti Autosport’s pair of Indy Pro 2000 champions Christian Rasmussen and Sting Ray Robb were fifth and sixth on the unofficial time-sheet.

The 13 drivers completed 1,282 circuits of the track that best simulates a road course, with HMD Motorsports newcomer Ernie Francis, Jr., the busiest of the group. The seven-time Trans-Am Series champion completed 116 laps.

Unofficial times from Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires team testing at Sebring International Raceway

1 Benjamin Pedersen Global Racing Group w/ HMD Motorsports 56.3564 104
2 Hunter McElrea Andretti Autosport 56.4893 -0.1329 91
3 Danial Frost HMD Motorsports 56.5288 -0.1724 88
4 Manuel Sulaiman HMD Motorsports 56.6395 -0.2831 103
5 Christian Rasmussen Andretti Autosport 56.6725 -0.3161 104
6 Sting Ray Robb Andretti Autosport 56.7240 -0.3676 88
7 Matthew Brabham Andretti Autosport 56.9043 -0.5479 78
8 Kyffin Simpson TJ Speed Motorsports 57.0580 -0.7016 98
9 Christian Bogle HMD Motorsports 57.1318 -0.7754 110
10 Ernie Francis, Jr. HMD Motorsports 57.1366 -0.7802 116
11 Jacob Abel Abel Motorsports 57.2534 -0.897 101
12 Artem Petrov TJ Speed Motorsports 57.3638 -1.0074 89
13 James Roe TJ Speed Motorsports 57.8883 -1.5319 112

While their big brothers were in Florida, the USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires, Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship, and Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires teams and drivers spent Monday and Tuesday testing at cool and damp Barber Motorsports Park.