Mazda Road to Indy to Conclude Hotly Contested Season during Pirelli World Challenge Weekend
The battle for supremacy on the Mazda Road to Indy – the only driver development program of its type in the world – is poised to come down to doubleheader title fights at the scenic and challenging Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for its season finale on September 11-13. All three series comprising the ladder system – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda – will be in action with over $2.3 million in season-ending prizes and awards on the line.
The Mazda Road to Indy is unique in the world of auto racing, providing a clear, scholarship-funded path for drivers to follow toward the pinnacle of the sport. Previously in North America, as now in the rest of the world, drivers were faced with a myriad of options as they attempted to work their way up the ladder. Now it’s possible to graduate all the way from karting and the grassroots of the sport to the Verizon IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500 with scholarship prizes at every stage.
The development system has been highly acclaimed since its formal introduction in 2010. Its various levels – beginning with USF2000 and progressing through Pro Mazda to Indy Lights – have attracted drivers from around the globe. In all, at least 15 different nations are expected to be represented among the three series at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
A pair of Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix Powered by Mazda races will set the stage for the fight for final positions in the championship standings. At stake is a Mazda scholarship of over $325,000 to progress to Pro Mazda in 2016. Three talented youngsters distanced themselves from the pack during the early stages of the 16-race season: Frenchman Nico Jamin and a pair of Americans, Jake Eidson, from Littleton, Colo., and Aaron Telitz, from Birchwood, Wis. All three are in their second season of USF2000 competition.
The Allied Building Products Pro Mazda Grand Prix doubleheader will feature several title contenders gunning for a $500,000+ scholarship from Mazda to graduate into Indy Lights next season including Uruguay’s Santi Urrutia, Neil Alberico of Los Gatos, Calif., Timothe Buret of Montpellier, France, and Weiron Tan from Malaysia.
A 40-minute “sprint” and 60-minute feature will comprise the Indy Lights Grand Prix Presented by Cooper Tires and Powered by Mazda. An exciting new chapter in the series’ storied history is being written in 2015 with the debut of the state-of-the-art Dallara IL-15 chassis and its turbocharged 2.0-liter Mazda MZR-R engine, which has been shattering track records across the country.
There is no better springboard than Indy Lights, the highest rung on the Mazda Road to Indy, which will offer its 2015 champion a scholarship package of over $1.2 million and participation in at least three Verizon IndyCar Series races, including the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, in 2016.
Ones to watch include sophomore driver Jack Harvey of Lincoln, England, who finished second in last year’s title chase, and rookies Ed Jones of Carlin and Spencer Pigot of Juncos Racing, the reigning Pro Mazda champion.
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