News & Multimedia

New Pro Mazda Chassis Makes Sparkling Debut at Indy Test

The PM-18 still had that new car smell.

The new Tatuus PM-18 for the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires had its first official on-track activity Saturday at the Chris Griffis Memorial Test on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. The new chassis for the Pro Mazda category completes the upgrade process across the entire Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires development ladder.

Six teams tested the PM-18. A couple drivers had experience from the previous Pro Mazda car that helped form their opinion of the new car for the 2018 season.

“It feels smoother than the old car and the brakes are so much better. It’s just a better braking car, better accelerating and a better handling car,” said Sting Ray Robb, who tested with Juncos Racing. “Now, you have to brake much later by nearly 100 feet and so it’s a massive amount of difference. Also, you have to do bigger changes to get the same kind of reaction that you would out of the old car.

“The old car used to be quite edgy due to the short wheelbase, so now with the longer wheelbase, it feels more stable, more calm and easier to drive but the new fly-by-wire throttle is really nice to have,” Robb added. “I do like the mechanical throttle, but it’s time for a change so I think it’s going to be good.”

Carlos Cunha also tested with Ricardo Juncos’ team and finished third in this year’s Pro Mazda championship. He was fastest in Saturday’s opening session and second quick in the next two sessions.

“I think the car’s completely different. The first time I drove it, I was like ‘OK, this is a real race car!’ and it’s really technologically advanced,” Cunha said. “Everything is really fast. In the old car, it was really fun to drive and to learn, but this car is a real race car, it’s really a race car.”

Cunha spent much of his day on track zeroing in on the differences in how the PM-18 performs compared to the old Pro Mazda car.

“You can drive the (new) car better, you can try different things, different lines,” he said. “We can try trail braking and different things like (an) Indy car. It’s going to be a really big challenge for the drivers and the teams because it’s a completely different car and it’s an amazing car.”

Dan Andersen, owner of Andersen Promotions which owns and operates the Mazda Road to Indy under INDYCAR sanction, was delighted to see the PM-18 in action.

“It’s a great satisfaction and relief,” said Andersen. “A lot of time and effort went in on the part of my staff, my project manager, Scot Elkins, the folks from Tatuus and Elite Engines. I think what we’ve put together is a fantastic package and it does complete the overall ladder that we’ve envisioned for the last several years.

“This is a serious race car, this is a serious package, it does exactly what I want it to do. It takes the drivers who learn mechanical grip and competition in USF2000 and it teaches them aerodynamics and much higher speeds. It’s the perfect training ground to move them into Indy Lights.”

All three MRTI levels are participating in the two-day Griffis test. During Saturday’s first day of testing, Nico Jamin was quickest in Indy Lights for Belardi Auto Racing with a best lap of 1 minute, 15.7173 second in his No. 5 Dallara IL-15 Mazda. Pro Mazda’s fastest Saturday runner was 2017 USF2000 champion Oliver Askew at 1:19.8920 in the No. 8 Cape Motorsports PM-18 Mazda. The top USF2000 time went to Andres Gutierrez of Pabst Racing with a lap of 1:25.5618.


Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Pro Mazda
 
New Pro Mazda Chassis Makes Sparkling Debut at Indy Test
The new Tatuus PM-18 for the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires had its first official on-track activity Saturday at the Chris Griffis Memorial Test on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
Read More
Related Media
Rossi Long Beach
 
Rossi Capped Perfect Home State Weekend with Long Beach Victory
Alexander Rossi sought redemption for the one he felt got away at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The Andretti Autosport driver made up for it in dominant fashion, completing a nearly flawless weekend with a flawless drive to win today’s race.
Read More
Crown Royal Wall of Gratitude
 
Crown Royal Enlists Racing Icons Marco Andretti and Alexander Rossi to Honor Military Heroes Headed into the Indianapolis 500
For the second year in a row, and as part of the brand’s “Live Generously and Life Will Treat You Royally” campaign, Crown Royal is enabling race fans of legal drinking age to submit names of their military heroes for display on the Crown Royal Wall of Gratitude.
Read More
James Davison
 
Davison Joins AJ Foyt Racing for 102nd Indianapolis 500 as Entry List Grows to Thirty-Five
James Davison has been named to drive the No. 33 Chevrolet in the Indianapolis 500; the car has been entered by Foyt Racing with partners Jonathan Byrd’s Racing, Hollinger MotorSport and Belardi Auto Racing.
Read More
Pat Flaherty, 1956
 
Memory Lane: Pat Flaherty, 1956
Pat Flaherty wore a shamrock on his racing helmet, but he didn’t need the luck of the Irish to win the 1956 Indianapolis 500. But it did take a healthy dose of luck – and miraculous work by Indianapolis Motor Speedway track superintendent Clarence Cagle and his crew – for the 40th edition of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” to take place on schedule Wednesday, May 30.
Read More
JR Hildebrand
 
Hildebrand Marks 34th Entry in 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500
Hildebrand, a 30-year-old native of Sausalito, Calif., has 62 Verizon IndyCar Series races on his resume, including three podium finishes. As an Indy 500 rookie in 2011, he was leading for Panther Racing when he crashed in the final turn of the final lap and finished second as Dan Wheldon won.
Read More
Items 13 - 17 of 2,954