Star Mazda - Team GDT's Mendez, Lewis And Bastien Test Monday At Barber Motorsports Park
LEEDS, March 21, 2012: Three Team GDT drivers got acquainted with Barber Motorsports Park on Monday during “Spring Training” for the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear.
Andrés Méndez of Bogota, Columbia; Corey Lewis of Nazareth, Pa. and Dom Bastien of West Palm Beach, Fla. logged about 65 laps on Monday during the first day of the two-day test at the picturesque 2.38-mile, 16-turn road course near Birmingham.
Two other drivers for the Dallas-based team — Ryan Tveter of Oyster Bay, N.Y. and team owner J.W. Roberts of Dallas, the reigning Expert Series champion — are not participating in Spring Training, but they are scheduled to join Méndez in the series’ season-opening doubleheader this coming Saturday and Sunday at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Fla. Saturday’s race is slated to begin at 1 p.m. Eastern time and Sunday’s race is scheduled to get the green flag at 10:05 a.m. Eastern time.
Méndez and Lewis are also scheduled to compete in the Star Mazda doubleheader at Barber Motorsports Park March 30-April 1 during the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by Legacy. The first half of the Barber Motorsports Park doubleheader is slated for 4:45 p.m. Central time on Friday, March 30. The second 45-minute race is 10:20 a.m. Central time on Sunday, April 1. Tveter, Bastien and Roberts can’t compete in that event due to schedule conflicts; 17-year-old Tveter can’t miss school that week; Bastien is driving a BMW in another event at the famous Nurburgring in Germany and Roberts has a previous business commitment.
Méndez and Lewis’s primary goals on Monday were to get acclimated to the track and to try to identify the fastest way around it since they’d never driven the course in the past. ?Bastien’s primary goal was to simply get back in the swing of driving a Star Mazda car. His last race was the Star Mazda event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca last September, and he didn’t do any testing over the winter.
Lewis, 20, is an instructor at the Monticello Driving Club in New York. He has been testing with Team GDT numerous times over the off-season and he would like nothing better than to add other marketing partners to his assistance from Bell Racing Helmets so he can compete in the series full time.
“Since I’d never driven here before I have a lot to learn, but I?have confidence in Team GDT,”?Lewis said. “I attended the IndyCar race here last year and I was really looking forward to driving here, so I’m glad I?got the opportunity today.”
Méndez, 19, has never competed on any of the tracks he’ll face this year in Star Mazda, so getting some seat time at Barber Motorsports Park was also a welcome opportunity.?Although the track was new to him some of the other drivers testing here were familiar, because he competed against Gabby Chaves and Gustavo Menezes in karting. Like Lewis he studied the course through iRacing’s simulation to give him a base to work with when he got behind the wheel of the No. 53, which is sponsored by Datafile International SA and Grupo Kriterion.
“Before today I had six tests in a Star Mazda car,” Méndez said. “Today I?just wanted to get to know the track, learn a lot and try to go as fast as I can, see where we are with the other drivers and keep working on improving my skills and the car’s set-up.”
Tomorrow’s test schedule finds the Star Mazda cars on the track from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.; 10:20 a.m. to 11:20 a.m.; 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 3:50 p.m. to 4:50 p.m. All times are Central.
For more information, including live timing and scoring, see the series’ Web site at starmazda.com. Other news is posted on indycar.com and barbermotorsports.com. Fans can learn more about Team GDT?on its Facebook page or through Twitter @TeamGDT.
About Team GDT: Team GDT?is a multi-car professional race team headquartered in Dallas that is owned by businessman and racing driver J.W. Roberts. The team primarily focuses on the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear, the second step in the IZOD?IndyCar Series’ Mazda Road to Indy.
In 2011 Team GDT won its second Star Mazda Expert Series championship in a row with Roberts behind the wheel. The Expert Series is a race-within-a-race and a championship-within-a-championship for drivers 30 and older. Roberts won the Expert title driving his Team GDT/General Data Tech Mazda No. 65 with a total of five class victories. Team GDT is also well known for nurturing rising stars, including Motorsport Ireland ‘Young Racing Driver of the Year’ Patrick McKenna and multi-Star Mazda race winners Alex Ardoin and Richard Kent. Fans can learn more about Team GDT?on its Facebook page or through Twitter @TeamGDT.