Mazda Road to Indy promoter Dan Andersen has engaged Matt Brabham to shakedown the 2017 Tatuus USF-17 chassis.
Brabham’s experience in the IndyCar Series ladder categories saw Andersen call on the Australian-American driver to put the new car through its paces in its first oval test at the Lucas Oils Raceway in Indianapolis.
“Matt is one of our most successful MRTI alumni and certainly knows and understands the USF2000 class better than most,” Andersen said.
“His skill as a top level open-wheel pilot served us well today, and we appreciate his contribution to this fantastic new car.”
A winner in the USF2000 and Pro Mazda classes in 2012 and 2013, Brabham completed a two-race campaign for Pirtek Team Murray where he realised his maiden IndyCar starts in the road course race at Indianapolis and the Indy 500 in May.
Brabham finished 16th and 22nd in both Indianapolis events, giving hope that he may secure an elusive full-time drive in IndyCar.
In the meantime Andersen made use of the 22-year-old Brabham’s considerable experience to test the fresh Italian-made chassis.
“It’s an honour to test the new chassis,” said Brabham who was one of six MRTI graduates in the Indy 500 field.
“Today went really smoothly. We had no issues and ran tons of laps. The systems in the car are a big upgrade compared to the old car, which makes it a lot more comfortable to drive.
“The mechanical grip from the Tatuus chassis is also a big improvement compared to the old car. It makes up for the less downforce.”
The chassis will form the backbone of both the USF2000 and Pro Mazda machines with the predominant differences in aerodynamics and the data systems.