Malaysian driver Weiron Tan finished his 2015 Pro Mazda Championship campaign in fourth position this weekend, after a thrilling final round at the Mazda Raceway, Laguna Seca. The Andretti Autosport driver crossed the line fifth in race one and ninth in race two, scoring enough points to end his rookie season of the Pro Mazda Championship in the top four.
Tan, fresh from a brief summer break, got his weekend off to a great start with two strong practice sessions. The Andretti Autosport team worked on his car’s set up after finishing P7 in the first practice session of the day, finding a good balance for the car and ending the second practice session in P2.
Qualifying saw an action-packed session for the 20 year-old driver. Tan was placing quick lap times when he briefly made contact with a tyre barrier, which caused his car to roll near the circuit’s famous corkscrew. Thankfully the #22 driver was unhurt, but due to causing a red flag he had his fastest lap taken away and ended the session qualifying in P10.
The first race of the weekend got off to a dramatic start when Tan’s car was hit, causing damage to his front wing and suspension. With a new wing Tan was then allowed to take the restart in his qualifying position of P10. The Malaysian was soon chasing the front of the field and climbed into fifth place where he stayed when the checkered flag fell after 18 laps of racing.
On Sunday afternoon, as racing got underway for the second race of the weekend and the final race of the Championship, Tan made a good getaway from P8 and was up to P7 at the start. Tan lined up a move for P6 on turn three of the opening lap but slight contact was made between Tan’s and Lattore’s car causing Tan’s right rear to go out of alignment which made driving the rest of the race challenging. As Tan approached turn six, fighting the issue with the right rear tyre, Tan went slightly wide and dropped back to P10. The race was put under yellows at the end of lap one but racing resumed after three laps, only to be cut short by another yellow flag session as the car in front of Tan made was hit and went off track. Tan managed to stay out of trouble and passed safely into ninth position.
With just over 10-minutes left of the 30-minute race, the green flag was waved once more and Tan maintained his ninth position on the restart. Soon after, another yellow flag was waved and the safety car was called out once again due to a car going off track as the racers fought for the final points up for grabs. With just one lap to go racing resumed and Tan crossed the line in ninth place.
Reflecting on the weekend’s races and his time in the Championship, Tan commented: “We should have qualified on the front row for this round. We finally got the car to where it needed to be during practice and we were confident it would be good. As shown right up to when I rolled at Corkscrew, we were running P1 at the time. As a result, I had to start mid pack. I want to thank Andretti for such a wonderful year it has been. We may not have achieved the result we wanted, however I still felt that with all that had happened this year, it has made me stronger driver. Sure I’ve made some mistakes throughout the year and we have been unfortunate with luck many times too, but as ironic as it sounds, I’m glad we made those mistakes, because there is always something to learn from. Thank you very much to my family, business partners and friends for their support and giving me the opportunity to compete this year! I hope that we can find a way to continue racing in America because if we do it again, I’ll do it right.”
Top five Pro Mazda Championship standings at the end of the 2015 season:
1 – Santiago Urrutia – 354
2 – Neil Alberico – 302
3 – Garett Grist – 294
4 – Weiron Tan – 282
5 – Timothe Buret – 281