At the Honda GP of St. Petersburg on Friday, Mazda Road to Indy officials announced several new partnerships for the official driver development ladder of IndyCar. The Skip Barber Racing School will be the official racing school of the Mazda Road to Indy and IndyCar, and create the Skip Barber IndyCar Academy, a year-long program that will culminate in a driver winning a scholarship to race in the Skip Barber Racing Series.
Mazda Road to Indy also has formed new partnerships with:
- British Formula Ford: The series champion will receive a full test day in a USF2000 car and one full day in a Star Mazda car as part of the Mazda Road to Indy test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in October 2012.
- La Tam Challenge Series: The top three drivers from the LaTam Challenge Series will each receive a one-day test in a Star Mazda car as part of the Mazda Road to Indy test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in October 2012.
- Canadian F1600: Both the Quebec F1600 and Ontario F1600 series champions will each receive one day test in a USF200 car at the Mazda Road to Indy test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in October 2012.
"There's a clearly defined path from karting all the way to the IZOD IndyCar Series," said Jason Penix, director of grassroots initiatives for IndyCar. "Skip Barber already has ties to the Mazda Road to Indy by awarding a scholarship for a driver to race in USF2000 and today's announcement solidifies the ladder. In addition, adding these partnerships give us tie-ins with series in Canada, Mexico and Europe."