The Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear is taking aim at gaining a more prominent and influential role in the training and career development of young open-wheel racers with the announcement of a 2010 schedule that includes events on American Le Mans Series and Indy Racing League weekends as well as the high-profile "Night Before the 500."
Series President Gary Rodrigues stated, “As the Star Mazda Championship heads into its 20th season of competition, we remain obsessed with providing our racers with the most useful variety of venues to showcase their talent and advance their careers.”
The 11-weekend, 13-race Star Mazda Championship schedule retains its traditional season-opener at the 12 Hours of Sebring on March 19. On the following weekend, March 26, the Mazda Renesis rotary-powered open-wheelers will join the Indy Racing League for the first time ever on track in the Streets of St. Petersburg.
With the traditional season-ending event for both ALMS and the Star Mazda Championship moving from fall to spring in 2010, both series will be in action on May 22 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. From there it's a sprint halfway across the country to the heartland of open-wheel racing in North America and an appearance on May 29, along with the USAC Midgets and the newly recreated U.S. F2000 series, on the oval at O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis at the "Night before the 500," the unofficial but popular and prestigious lead-in event to the legendary Indy 500.
One high-profile oval race will follow another on the schedule as the teams and drivers of the Star Mazda Championship head for another appearance at an IRL event, this one on the one-mile oval at Iowa Speedway on June 19. The following weekend, June 26-27, marks a return to road racing with a Mazda-sponsored doubleheader at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
After a break to rest, test and tune, the Star Mazda Championship heads for the second of two Mazda-sponsored, doubleheader weekends, this one at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Ill., on July 31-Aug. 1. Two weeks later, on Aug. 15, drivers will test their skills on the famed street circuit of the GP3R in Trois-Rivières, Quebec. Drivers all agree that the atmosphere surrounding Trois- Rivières makes it one of the highlights of the season.
The 2010 Star Mazda Championship then wraps up with ALMS at a trio of races held on some of the most famous natural-terrain road courses in North America; Road America on Aug. 21, Mosport on Aug. 28 and Road Atlanta for the Petit Le Mans on Oct. 1.
“There will be more exciting announcements about the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear at the Performance and Racing Industry show in December,” added Series founder Gary Rodrigues. "2010 will be the 20th season of the Star Mazda Championship and this schedule, along with the news to come, will signal the beginning of a new era of open-wheel racing in North America. Along with our sponsors, Mazda and Goodyear, Star Mazda has a long history of helping develop the careers of top drivers; with our close and cost-effective competition, high-tech cars and high-profile schedule, 2010 is shaping up to the most exciting and important year in our history."