Source: Series PR
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – As part of a test day in advance of the triple-header Fleet Farm Grand Prix of Road America this weekend for USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires, the new Tatuus JR-23 turned its first public laps in advance of a 2023 competition debut. Exclusive Autosport, a fixture on the first two levels of the Road to Indy and current Indy Pro 2000 points leaders, converted a Tatuus USF-22 to the JR-23 with team driver Joey Brienza II behind the wheel.
The Tatuus JR-23 utilizes the same base chassis as the first two steps of the driver development ladder system with some modifications to conform to an entry level step. Drivers and teams can begin with the JR-23 chassis and continue to advance up the world’s most complete driver development system with a forward-thinking three-step concept.
Modifications for the USF Juniors series include the uprights, brake package, dampers and wheels. The USF2000 2-liter MZR powerplant prepared by Elite Engines utilizes a different restrictor plate for USF Juniors to ensure it fulfills its role as an entry level step below USF2000. The Cooper tire-shod chassis features the latest Magneti Marelli data logger and ECU.
“I want to thank Michael Duncalfe, Exclusive Autosport and Joey for helping us with our prototype testing,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “Our engine builder and technical director have been exploring various engine performance combinations today to determine the best positioning for 2023. We were fairly restrictive during our first session and fairly open in the second test which is why the lap times were four-plus seconds faster than the current Junior times. Our goal for the third session was to run around the 2:18 mark and we accomplished that.
“Engine mapping is a key factor. As with our past prototype testing of the new USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 cars for this year, we want to ensure the series has the ultimate, reliable equipment package in place before we release to teams. Our three-step concept allows a driver to progress from USF Juniors to USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 using the same base chassis, so today was important in dialing in our initial parameters.”
Current points leader Mac Clark of DEForce Racing was quickest overall at the conclusion of today’s test followed by Andre Castro (International Motorsport) and Nikita Johnson (VRD Racing). USF Juniors will return to the track tomorrow for practice, qualifying and the first race of the weekend at 3:25 pm CDT. Global live streaming can be found at Road to Indy TV, on the USF Juniors App and at usfjuniors.com.