After almost a six-month break, the Indy Lights Series presented by Cooper Tires kicks off in earnest this weekend with a double header at the St Petersburg street race in Florida. Last year’s race winner Ed Jones will return with Carlin and will be joined by Felix Serralles and Indy Lights rookie Neil Alberico.
All three Carlin men have enjoyed strong form in testing, with both Jones and Serralles regular front runners on the timing screens as Alberico continues to make good progress since moving up from Pro Mazda. The 2015 Pro Mazda vice-champion will make his Indy Lights race debut this weekend.
Ed Jones, who claimed a full sweep of two pole positions and two race wins last season in St Pete said, “I’m really looking forward to the new season getting underway. We had a great start in St Petersburg last year so we are confident going into the weekend. The competition is very tough this season but the team and myself have been working extremely hard to ensure we have made progress to start strong. It’s also nice going into the season as the favourite, I haven’t done the same championship for two seasons before, so it will be a real benefit taking my experience from last year forward.”
Team mate Seralles, who has also been a front runner in testing is determined ahead of the season opener, “I’m ready to start the season and work with a new team to achieve what I’ve always wanted to; to win races.”
Speaking ahead of his Indy Lights debut, Alberico said, “Testing has been great, but it’s good now to be in a race situation and to finally be able to get our heads down and get on with it. The last few tests have gone really and I get on great with my team mates Felix and Ed, and the chemistry with the team has been phenomenal. I’m just looking forward to the season getting started here in St Pete. In Pro Mazda last year, I took pole and two wins; I like the track and the track seems to like me, so I’m excited to get going this weekend.”
With Indy Lights acting as support series to the Verizon IndyCar Series, Carlin’s 2015 Indy Lights graduate Max Chilton will also make his IndyCar debut this weekend in St Pete, with the Chip Ganassi Racing Team. The British racer claimed several podiums last season including a race victory on the Iowa oval, and joins the championship winning Ganassi team for the 2016 season.
The first track action of the season will take place at 8.50 local time as the Indy Lights drivers take to the track for practice.