BRENTWOOD, England - Antti Buri, the 2012 Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Champion of Great Britain, impressed with his pace in the USA when he spent two days testing two different types of single-seater chassis at Indianapolis.
Buri, 23, won the chance to contest the Mazda Road To Indy pre-season tests at the legendary ‘Brickyard’ by dint of his British championship victory. The Finn lined up alongside more than 50 young stars from around the world to sample chassis from the USF2000 series and the Star Mazda Championship.
Last Wednesday Antti surprised the regulars by setting fastest time - by a half-second margin - in the USF2000 car. He lapped the Indianapolis Grand Prix circuit in a time of 1m 28.135s, well ahead of Canadian championship regular Matthew Di Leo.
“I found it quite similar to a Formula Ford car,” said Buri. “I could drive it in a very similar style, although of course it has wings so the braking distances are a lot shorter and it has much more grip in the turns, but otherwise in feel it was quite close to Formula Ford and I almost immediately felt at home in the car.”
The following day, Buri drove the much more powerful Star Mazda machine, and ended the sessions fifth fastest on the timesheet. “That was good also - a lot different, with about 100bhp more power, plus a sequential gearbox. However, I hurt my back a bit with the all the running the previous day, and I wasn’t totally comfortable. Driving the Star Mazda car was I think a bit more interesting because it was a new experience: I had to be a lot more gentle with it and that was interesting.
“The circuit was nice but very slippery because the Grand Prix layout is not used so much. To sum up, it was a great experience, and a fantastic prize, awesome.”