IN INDY LIGHTS PRIZE TEST
Formula Master's winning rookie Fabio Leimer claimed his test prize with Sam Schmidt Motorsports at the Indianapolis-based Putnam Circuit this week, posting a best time of 58.6 seconds.
Completing 122 laps on Monday, Leimer's circuit performance follows a superb oval test at Kentucky Speedway, which saw the 19-year-old set the fastest lap ahead of more experienced drivers such as Charlie Kimball (Euro Formula 3 and World Series by Renault), James Hinchcliffe (Formula Atlantic), Sebastián Saavedra (German Formula 3) and Marco Bonanomi (World Series by Renault and GP2 Asia).
Leimer's speed and consistent lap times impressed team owner and former Indy Racing League driver Sam Schmidt: "Fabio's tests on the Putnam Park road course and on the Kentucky Speedway oval went extremely smoothly.
"His times at the oval would have been very competitive in the race held there last August. Having never competed on an oval before, Fabio was very attentive and followed instructions well. He also felt very comfortable and the results showed this; he continually improved his lap times throughout the test.
"At Putnam Park, on the road course, you could see that Formula Master prepared him well for the more powerful (400 hp) Indy Lights Series," added Schmidt, whose team has scored the most wins in Indy Lights history. "We have tested for four days at this track over the last two weeks and his times were extremely competitive within the group.
"He was confident throughout and did a fantastic job at both venues. Clearly Fabio has a tremendous amount of talent, but he also displayed a high level of professionalism and maturity throughout these tests which is equally important."
Starting his test last week with no previous experience of the 3.5 litre V8-powered Indy Light car, Leimer progressed from the 2.0 litre Formula Master car easily, confirming the strong training ground provided by the Series.
"It was a very good experience to drive in this big and powerful car," said Leimer who finished runner-up on this year's Formula Master Series. "Although, I had expected the difference to the Formula Master car to be much bigger than it actually felt like! It was all very special and I want to thank Formula Master for this opportunity."
Now heading back to Europe, Leimer will test for his Formula Master team at Imola on 6 and 7 November.