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Star Mazda - Team GDT Tuesday Test Report

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LEEDS, March 22, 2012: All three of Team GDT’s drivers improved their lap times on Tuesday during the second and final day of “Spring Training” for the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear at Barber Motorsports Park.

The drivers came away with valuable experience and the other team members accomplished important homework in preparation for the Star Mazda doubleheader at Barber Motorsports Park March 30-April 1 during the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by Legacy.

Corey Lewis of Nazareth, Pa., put everything he learned to excellent use and set the team’s fastest lap on the very last lap he ran during the two-day test. Lewis’s best flyer was posted in the heat of the day and he ended up seventh in the final practice session with a time of 1:22.457 for the 2.38-mile, 16-turn road course. Lewis, 20, an instructor at the Monticello Driving Club in New York, hopes to come on strong at the end in the races at the end of the month too. A Bell Helmets representative, he hopes to find additional marketing partners so he can compete in additional Star Mazda races with Team GDT this year too.

“The track is awesome! It has already become one of my favorites,” Lewis said Tuesday afternoon after the final practice session. “It’s very technical but it still has fast, flowing corners. It’s a well-balanced track.

“We got a lot done today,” he added. “I was comfortable as early as this morning’s session. I think we got the max out of the car with our set-up in that last session, so I believe we’re right there with the other teams. I think our race pace will be consistent, whereas some of the other cars were fast but not as consistent. We might be slower than them in qualifying but I think we’ll have a good race car when we come back here, so I’m excited about it.”

Andrés Méndez of Bogota, Columbia set his fastest lap of the test on his final lap in the first practice session Tuesday morning. Like Lewis he had never driven at Barber Motorsports Park before this test. The 19-year-old made important strides towards a set-up that suits his driving style and he’s also looking forward to competing here at the end of the month. His car carries sponsorship from Datafile International SA and Grupo Kriterion.

“I was quite comfortable with the track; it’s a fun track to drive,”  said Méndez. “I like the hard braking turns. I’m still learning, but I think everything we learned here at this test will definitely help us when we come back in two weeks.”

Dom Bastien of West Palm Beach, Fla. participated in two of the four practice sessions on Tuesday, bettered his fastest lap time by 2.607 seconds between those two sessions, and got a great workout. He completed 23 laps in the second test session and 29 laps in the third.

“I got as many laps in during the third session today as it would have been if it was a race,” he noted. “I definitely enjoyed running here. Team GDT did a good job, and hopefully I can do this again sometime!”

Lewis completed 118 laps on Tuesday and Méndez logged 83.

Before the team returns to Barber Motorsports Park it will field three cars in the season-opening Star Mazda doubleheader this 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, 17-year-old Ryan Tveter of Oyster Bay, N.Y. and team owner J.W. Roberts of Dallas, the reigning Expert Series champion, will represent the team in Florida.