Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy Test Set to go at Indy
 September 20, 2018| 
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Racers From 15 Different Nations Seek Head Start on Preparations for 2019

PALMETTO, Fla. – Less than three weeks after another successful season for the world-renowned Mazda Road to Indy open-wheel development ladder wrapped up in Portland, Ore., teams and drivers are already focused on 2019 as the Eighth Annual Chris Griffis Memorial Open Test takes place this coming weekend, September 22/23, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Grand Prix road course.

Almost three dozen drivers representing 15 different nationalities are already signed up for two days of action on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn track in Speedway, Ind., for all three development series – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.

The test is held in memory of long-time crew chief and team manager Chris Griffis, who was part of Indy Lights championship-winning teams at Panther Racing and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports before passing away in September 2011.

Five Pro Mazda Teams Set to Test

The first year for the new Mazda-powered Tatuus PM-18 chassis witnessed a high-quality championship battle which remained undecided until the final weekend. And with the top five point scorers all stepping up to Indy Lights this weekend, the stage is set for someone else to shine at Indianapolis.

Juncos Racing, which guided Rinus VeeKay to the championship crown (after also winning the title in 2016 with Victor Franzoni), has entered three cars for Sweden’s Rasmus Lindh, 17, who recently clinched an impressive second place in the USF2000 championship in his first full season of car racing; Singapore’s Danial Frost, who showed well in a handful of USF2000 races; and Australian Cameron Shields, who hails from Toowoomba, the same Queensland town as defending Indy 500 champion Will Power. Shields is a proven race winner in Australian Formula 3, Formula 4 and Formula Ford.

Race-winning squads Exclusive Autosport, BN Racing and RP Motorsport Racing also will field cars for a variety of drivers looking to gain a head-start on their 2019 campaigns.

Los Angeles-based Russian Nikita Lastochkin will move to the Canadian Exclusive Autosport team after claiming a trio of top-five finishes this year, while Colombian Mathias Soler-Obel, who made three Pro Mazda starts at Mid-Ohio and Gateway after moving up mid-season from USF2000, will remain with the Italian RP organization. USF2000 regular Darren Keane, from Deerfield Beach, Fla., also is slated to taste the Pro Mazda waters with a one-day outing for RP Motorsport on Saturday.

Chicago, Ill.-based BN Racing, which announced recently it will expand its operations to all three levels of the ladder system in 2019, will concentrate its efforts on a pair of Pro Mazda cars at Indianapolis this weekend for 2017 South African F1600 champion Julian Van der Watt and Portland, Ore., native Kyle Dupell, both of whom displayed distinct promise in USF2000.

Mexican-owned, Texas-based DEForce Racing has entered 2017/2018 NACAM Formula 4 champion Moises de la Vara, who continues his graduation after competing in the final five races of this season with a best finish of fourth on the Gateway oval.

Live timing and scoring for all sessions will be available on the respective series’ websites, indylights.com, promazda.com and usf2000.com, as well as the Mazda Road to Indy TV App and indycar.com.

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