The Mazda Road to Indy, the official ladder series for IndyCar, will get a jump start on 2012 later this month when IndyCar hosts a two-day test open to USF2000 National Championship, Star Mazda Championship and Firestone Indy Lights teams at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's road course on Oct. 28-29.
Testing will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET both days with each series receiving a 60-minute session in the morning and a 75-minute session in the afternoon.
“Many of our top teams will be at the test with multiple cars and full crews, including engineers," says Star Mazda president Gary Rodrigues. "This is a great opportunity for drivers interested in competing in the Mazda Road to Indy to experience the cars, decide what level is appropriate and get an early start on the 2012 season. And the format, with two sessions each day for two days, makes it possible for drivers to test with different teams and find the one where they feel most comfortable."
This test is a fantastic opportunity to showcase what the Mazda Road to Indy has to offer to prospective drivers and teams,” said Tony George Jr., manager of business development for the Firestone Indy Lights and a key figure in the creation of the Mazda Road to Indy. “The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the perfect location for all three series to start preparations for the 2012 season.”
The Mazda Road to Indy was created to provide career-minded drivers a path from karting to the top level of IndyCar racing. As the title partner of the Mazda Road to Indy, Mazda provides scholarships to the champions of the three series in IndyCar's development ladder system to graduate to the next level.
In 2012, USF2000 champion Petri Suvanto will receive a scholarship to compete in the Star Mazda Championship. Star Mazda champion Tristan Vautier will receive a scholarship to compete in Firestone Indy Lights, while Firestone Indy Lights champion Josef Newgarden will receive a scholarship to race in the IZOD IndyCar Series.
"The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is such a magical place,” said John Doonan, director of motorsports for Mazda North America. “We're thrilled that the Mazda Road to Indy, and especially the Star Mazda and USF2000 racers, will have an opportunity to test on the track made famous by their heroes."
IndyCar's and Mazda's support of the ladder series extends beyond the racetrack with an expansion of the highly successful Mazda Road to Indy Summit program this year, which offered media, social media and business/sponsorship training among other topics, as well as networking and promotional opportunities to its drivers. In addition, the first Mazda Road to Indy Oval Clinic was held in May.