Jan 23, 2013
HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Carlos Munoz led the three-hour morning test session at Homestead-Miami Speedway and got faster in the afternoon, posting the fastest time of the day at 1 minute, 14.992 seconds on the 2.21-mile road course.
Though rookie teammate Zach Veach was eager for some friendly competition in setting the fastest time, the 21-year-old Colombian held his position throughout the day. Munoz is entering his second year in Firestone Indy Lights after a fifth-place finish in the championship in 2012.
"It's just testing, you don't know where you are in the rest of the field until qualifying at the first race," Munoz said. "You don't know what your competitors have or don't have. This is just a nice learning process for ourselves. We found some nice things over winter testing, and this year we're making my car more fitted to my driving style, so we are quick and comfortable, but we're still working."
Veach finished a few tenths of a second behind at 1:15.938 in the No. 12 K12 entry.
On a track that the series does not compete (last Firestone Indy Lights race was in 2007), speed isn't necessarily what the drivers are working toward. Refining driving styles, car improvements and other finer details were front of mind, especially for drivers still learning the car.
"Right now we're just working on some driving techniques," Veach said. "I've got a bit to catch up to Carlos, but we're really focusing on the braking. That's the biggest difference between this car and a Pro Mazda car, so as long as I keep trying to move up the braking point, I think we'll be fine."
Colombian driver and 2012 Star Mazda standout Gabby Chaves finished third-fastest of the day at 1:16.007. Belardi Auto Racing's Peter Dempsey was fourth despite recording only 71 total laps. Quebec's Mikael Grenier rounded out the top five.
The nine drivers totaled 771 laps. Day 2 of the Firestone Indy Lights Open test begins at 8:30 a.m. (ET) and will run until 4:30 p.m. Photos from the first day of testing are available on Flickr.