Rinus VeeKay impresses in Indy Lights test debut at Indianapolis
KNAF Talent First car racing talent Rinus VeeKay has made an impressive Indy Lights debut at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In the Chris Griffis Memorial Open Test the 17-year-old driver from Hoofddorp in the Netherlands finished all eight test sessions in the top five and was the number one twice. “I’m very happy and learned so much in these two days. To come so close to the drivers who won Indy Lights races this season, while it’s my first time in these cars, is really great,” said VeeKay still excited after his Indy Lights debut.
After testing with great success over the past two weeks for several teams in the Pro Mazda category of the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires, KNAF Talent First car racing talent Rinus VeeKay made his Indy Lights debut at last weekend’s Chris Griffis Memorial Open Test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 vice champion, who turned 17 years of age only a few weeks ago, was invited by Belardi Auto Racing, the team that won the team championship in the Indy Lights category of the 2017 Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires. The annual Chris Griffis Memorial Open Test provides teams in all three categories of the Mazda Road to Indy the opportunity to audition new talent.
There were four test sessions scheduled for both Saturday and Sunday as well. From the very first moment it was loud and clear that VeeKay felt very comfortable in the Indy Lights Dallara with 450HP 2.0-liter turbocharged Mazda engine.
After finishing fifth and third in the first two sessions, VeeKay topped the charts in the third test session. In the fourth and final session the KTF driver improved to 1:16.206, only 0.38 seconds short of the number one, Colton Herta, race winner and the number three in the 2017 Indy Lights Championship.
After his impressive first day, VeeKay could hit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for another four test sessions on Sunday. The 17-year-old race talent picked up where he left off, and after finishing third and fifth in the first two sessions, VeeKay once again topped the charts in session number three. With five laps within 0.1 second of each other, the KTF driver proved his consistency as well. In the 2-day test VeeKay completed more than 160 laps. Belardi Auto Racing were also very happy with VeeKay’s Indy Lights debut and praised the speed and professional attitude of the young Dutchman.
VeeKay was of course also very excited about his maiden outing in Indy Lights, the highest category of the Road to Indy with the IndyCar Series as the next level. “With top five positions in all eight sessions, and finishing in first position twice, there is nothing to complain about. I learned so much in these two days. Qualifying runs, how to use tires in qualifying, how to deal with a turbo, and downforce, as Indy Lights have large wings. Belardi were a great team to work with and the cooperation with my team mate was also perfect. We shared the data and learned from each other. To be so close to the lap times of Nico Jamin and Colton Herta, both race winners in the 2017 Indy Lights Championship, is really cool,” said VeeKay after his Indy Lights debut. Arie Luyendyk, the 2-time Indy 500 winner, who was at Indianapolis to support his young countryman, was also very proud of VeeKay’s performance. \
In November VeeKay will also test in one of the leading European formula categories. After that test VeeKay will look into all the options and make a decision about the class and team for 2018.