INDIANAPOLIS (24 October 2017) – Darren Keane, who completed his rookie Cooper Tires USF2000 powered by Mazda season this year, was the fastest of 18 USF2000 drivers in action during the two-day seventh annual Chris Griffis Memorial Test held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway over the weekend.
The test took place on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course – a 2.439-mile circuit that features the twists and turns of the infield section and incorporates a portion of the iconic Indianapolis oval. The Cooper Tires USF2000 powered by Mazda will return to race at the track in May 2018 in the run up to the Indianapolis 500.
Keane posted times among the top-four in each of the eight test sessions on offer. The Boca Raton, Florida racer clocked the fastest lap of the two-day testing during the first session Sunday morning by turning a quick time of 1:25.1424-seconds in the No. 36 Newman Wachs Racing entry.
He and the Newman Wachs Racing team utilized the track time to the fullest with Keane completing 159 laps and nearly 390 miles around the Indianapolis road course.
“I am happy to come out of the weekend with the fastest lap,” said Keane. “We were really consistent. I’ve shown speed throughout the year but we haven’t been as consistently fast as we were at the test so I’m really, really happy about that. It’s a great boost for my confidence heading into 2018. A huge thank you to the Newman Wachs guys and my engineer Alan (O’Leary). Every change we made this weekend was an improvement.”
Keane previously raced at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in just his second-ever USF2000 event earlier this year and is proud of the progress he has made since then. Working with fellow Florida racer and veteran IMSA driver Ozz Negri as his mentor and coach, Keane has adapted well to the feedback and coaching from Negri and it shows in both Keane’s race craft and in his session results.
“Everything that I’ve learned in my races that came after my Indianapolis race this year has really helped me,” added Keane. “In fact, I was looking at a video from that race and couldn’t believe how much I’ve learned since then. My coach Ozz (Negri) has been a big part of that process and I’m grateful for everything he has been teaching me. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do this season.”
Having posted the quickest time of the Chris Griffis Memorial Test, Keane is looking forward to his second year in the Cooper Tires USF2000 powered by Mazda series in 2018.
The Cooper Tires USF2000 powered by Mazda series will kick off its 2018 season on the Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida on March 9-11.
CHRIS GRIFFIS MEMORIAL TEST RESULTS:
Session 1: 2nd – 1:26.2450-seconds
Session 2: 4th – 1:25.8814-seconds
Session 3: 2nd – 1:25.6882-seconds
Session 4: 1st – 1:25.9076-seconds
Session 5: 1st – 1:25.1424-seconds
Session 6: 2nd – 1:25.8234-seconds
Session 7: 2nd – 1:26.5240-seconds
Session 8: 3rd – 1:26.0322-seconds