Race-winning Indy Lights driver Aaron Telitz is scheduled to get his first taste of Verizon IndyCar Series power on Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, but only if the local weather complies.
With snowfall predicted for the paddock-wide Indy GP test, the Wisconsinite’s plans to drive James Hinchcliffe’s No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda are subject to the conditions that await teams on Friday.
“He’s somebody we’ve had our eye on for a while,” SPM general manager Piers Phillips told RACER. “We have experience of running or testing most of the other frontrunners in Indy Lights, and this test is a perfect opportunity – provided it doesn’t snow – to get a closer look at Aaron.”
Telitz took a pair of wins in 2017 as an Indy Lights rookie and entered the season-opener earlier this month at St. Petersburg as a championship favorite. Adversity soured his weekend after a crash made it impossible to start from the pole position he earned for Race 1, and after the Belardi team worked feverishly to prepare a spare car sourced from Carlin Racing for Race 2, Telitz was taken out in the second turn on the opening lap. Getting to share Hinchcliffe’s Honda would be a welcome dose of positivity for the American.
SPM would make use of IndyCar’s testing provision where an additional day of running is granted if an active Indy Lights driver (or similar young gun) is used. In Telitz, Phillips says giving the Belardi Racing driver some Indy car experience is only part of the program.
“We have the advantage of getting an extra test day as well by using a young driver, so you want to choose someone who will make it beneficial for us, and that’s why we chose Aaron,” he said.