By Steve Wittich
With just over six weeks left in a short Indy Lights off-season, a dozen drivers were busy testing on the 1.7-mile circuit Sebring International Raceway “short course.”
Like that two-day test, veterans Benjamin Pedersen (Global Racing Group w/HMD) and Sting Ray Robb (Andretti Autosport) led the way. Pederson, who led the first day of testing in December, was the quickest driver, putting down a lap timed at 55.773 seconds. Robb, who led the second day of testing in December, was a scant six-hundredths of a second behind Pedersen.
If the timesheet is any indication, the 2022 Indy Lights season will be ultra-competitive. All 12 drivers were within eight-tenths of a second of Pederson, with the top two-thirds of the field within four-tenths of a second of the top spot.
Rounding out the top five were Matthew Brabham (Andretti Autosport), Danial Frost (HMD Motorsports), and Christian Rasmussen (Andretti Autosport).
Ten of the 11 drivers who tested in December improved on their lap times with the newest Indy Lights signee, James Roe (TJ Speed Motorsports), finishing the test only an eighth of a second behind the drivers with much more seat time in the IL-15. That improved well over one second from his last visit to the circuit.
Also making significant gains were Abel Motorsports rookie Jacob Abel (0.458 seconds quicker) and veteran Andretti Autosport pilot Matthew Brabham (0.232 seconds faster), who is quickly reacclimating to open-wheel machinery.
The 12 drivers completed 1388 laps of the circuit that best impersonates the characteristics of a street circuit, with 90-degree corners, bumps, and surface changes.
The recently released Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires schedule features four road course races, including the season opener on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn St. Petersburg street circuit in only 47 days.
The teams with the same dozen drivers have one day to make the 180+ mile drive south for a Friday test on the Homestead-Miami Speedway road course.
Unofficial Times From Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires testing at Sebring International Raceway on Jan. 12, 2022.
|RANK||DRIVER||TEAM||QUICK LAP||DIFFERENCE||TOTAL LAPS|
|1||Benjamin Pedersen||Global Racing Group w/ HMD Motorsports||55.773||72|
|2||Sting Ray Robb||Andretti Autosport||55.834||-0.061||116|
|3||Matthew Brabham||Andretti Autosport||55.863||-0.09||140|
|4||Danial Frost||HMD Motorsports||55.902||-0.129||123|
|5||Christian Rasmussen||Andretti Autosport||55.926||-0.153||135|
|6||Linus Lundqvist||HMD Motorsports||55.942||-0.169||123|
|7||Manuel Sulaiman||HMD Motorsports||56.011||-0.238||104|
|8||Kyffin Simpson||TJ Speed Motorsports||56.109||-0.336||100|
|9||Jacob Abel||Abel Motorsports||56.123||-0.35||122|
|10||Hunter McElrea||Andretti Autosport||56.182||-0.409||118|
|11||Christian Bogle||HMD Motorsports||56.574||-0.801||109|
|12||James Roe||TJ Speed Motorsports||56.581||-0.808||126|