SEBRING, Fla. (March 19, 2007) - Following its 2006 season reward for an SCCA Club Racing Champion to move up to the SCCA Pro Racing SIRIUS Satellite Radio Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by Hankook, Mazda announced at Sebring further enhancements to its ladder program, including the awarding of an SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car ride to the 2007 MX-5 Cup Champion.-30-
"We are committed to developing the next generation of racers with a ladder system that provides drivers with Mazda and Mazda-powered open and closed-wheel cars throughout their careers,” said Robert Davis, Senior Vice President, Product Development and Quality, and the man responsible for Mazda's North American motorsports operations under the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development banner. “Similar to our contingency program, these are performance-based rewards. Too often the cost of racing has meant that a promising career has stagnated due to a lack of budget. With this initiative, Mazda will change that.”
There will be two paths for Mazda"s program, an SCCA-based program for drivers of sports cars as well as a multi-partnered open wheel program.
Closed-wheel sports car racers are competing for these new awards:
* After an end-of-season shoot-out; one winner of a 2007 SCCA Club Racing National Championship will be given a new MX-5 Miata and the parts to build a 2008 SCCA Pro Racing SIRIUS Satellite Radio MX-5 Cup car.
* The 2007 SCCA Pro Racing SIRIUS Satellite Radio MX-5 Cup Champion will be awarded a drive in the 2008 SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Championship.
Open-wheel racers are competing for these new awards:
* One successful kart racer will participate in a full season of the BFGoodrich Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda in 2008.
* The 2007 Skip Barber National Champion will be racing in the 2008 Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear.
* The 2007 Star Mazda Champion will be racing in the 2008 Cooper Tires Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Series Powered by Mazda.
In addition to its SCCA involvement, Mazda has also signed partnership agreements with multiple sanctioning bodies and events, and will be highly involved with the following:
* World Karting Association (WKA)
* Champ Car Rotax Kart Challenge
* Snap-on Stars of Karting presented by IndyCar
* Superkarts! USA (SKUSA)
* Newcastle Motorsport Park (Indiana)
* Rock Island Grand Prix (the largest professional kart street race in the world)
Mazda’s support will consist of both traditional sponsorship funding towards prize money and operating costs, as well as unique benefits such as business-partner pricing on new Mazda vehicles for kart racers who belong to those organizations.
Andrew Caddell, who won the 2006 SCCA Club Racing National Championship in the Spec Miata class, was selected earlier this year as the winner of the first facet of the ladder—a free MX-5 Cup car and kit. SCCA Pro Racing also participated in the program, and will supply the entry fees for the winner.
The 2007 SCCA Pro Racing SIRIUS Satellite Radio Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by Hankook will begin April 21 at the Grand Prix of Houston. The 2007 SCCA SPEED Touring Car Championship began Friday, March 16 at Sebring International Raceway, a race won by Mazda driver Jeff Altenburg.
Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., Mazda North American Operations oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States, Canada and Mexico through nearly 900 dealers. Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada, Inc., located in Ontario, Canada, and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.
Link to story: http://www.scca.com/News/News.asp?Ref=775