The Star Mazda Championship, a rung of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder, announced late Monday that the series will not continue under its present owners for the 2013 season. Series president Gary Rodrigues made the announcement in a brief statement, citing lack of sufficient funds to continue the long-running open-wheel ladder series. However, Peterson added that the series assets will be offered for sale, and suggested that it was still possible the series could be reconstituted under new owners.
"After 22 years of growth and a proud record of helping young motor racing talent build careers in the racing industry, we regret to advise you that the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear will not continue in 2013 under its present ownership. It has unfortunately not been possible to secure sufficient support to keep the program going. The assets of the series will be offered to qualified buyers at market price, in the hope that a company or group will be able to marshal the resources to continue this groundbreaking program for years to come.
"IndyCar and Mazda have expressed their desire to see this program continue undiminished. The 2013 Star Mazda Championship schedule was within days of release when we had to make this difficult decision. We feel confident that the series will continue under new ownership and, hopefully, its excellent potential."
Mazda Motorsports Director John M. Doonan said that the company would work to facilitate a new ownership arrangement.
"We accept, with regret, Gary Rodrigues' decision to sell the assets of the Star Mazda Championship," Doonan said. "Mazda, Goodyear, and INDYCAR met via conference call as soon as we heard from Gary. We share a common desire to maintain the two decades of heritage and momentum that, Gary, his family, team, and partners have developed for the Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear. A buyer for the series has been identified and is in discussion with all major stakeholders. We expect a positive statement regarding the 2013 season as soon as purchase terms are negotiated."
IndyCar affirmed its continuing support for the Mazda Road to Indy in a brief statement released on Twitter.
"INDYCAR remains committed to the Mazda Road to Indy and sanctioning a ladder system for young drivers to reach the IZOD IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500," read the statement. "We remain in contact with our partners at Mazda in identifying possible solutions that would continue to bridge the ladder between USF2000 and Firestone Indy Lights for the 2013 season and beyond."
This year's Star Mazda Championship was won by British driver Jack Hawksworth, who aims to move up to Firestone Indy Lights for 2013.