The Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear and Performance Friction today announced an expansion of the Indy Racing League's "Road to Indy" program with the series champion guaranteed a test with a top Firestone Indy Lights team.
2009 Star Mazda champion Adam Christodoulou will test with Andersen Racing's Indy Lights team later this month, and the champion of the upcoming 2010 season will also get a test as part of his or her prize package. Those prizes now include, in addition to the Indy Lights test, $100,000 in cash and a scholarship from the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder.
The Road to Indy program is designed to bridge the gap between the premier open-wheel racing divisions and the entry level open-wheel series by creating a clear career path for aspiring racing drivers; it includes Firestone Indy Lights, Star Mazda and the USF2000 National Championship.
“With Andersen Racing's involvement in all steps on the Road to Indy ladder, we are delighted to work with PFC and Star Mazda in making this exciting test program a reality," says Andersen Racing co-owner Dan Andersen. "My long-term relationship with the folks at PFC, coupled with our involvement in and support of the Star Mazda Championship for the past six years, makes this an easy decision. So many Star Mazda drivers in recent years have successfully transitioned into Indy Lights, and now with the support of PFC, more drivers can sample the next step properly. We look forward to testing Adam in the next few weeks.”
Star Mazda drivers will also be competing for the VISIT FLORIDA Cup, a 7-race championship-within-a-championship; the grand prize for the top-finishing driver in those events is a custom-designed dream vacation in Florida courtesy of VISIT FLORIDA, the state's official tourism marketing corporation and sponsor of the 2010 Star Mazda Championship television package. In total, drivers in the 2010 Star Mazda Championship will be competing for prizes valued in excess of $1.5 million.
"Our goal has always been to provide our drivers with the most competitive, cost-effective and comprehensive opportunity to advance their career," says Star Mazda Championship founder and CEO Gary Rodrigues. "This is another step forward in creating a clearly defined path for Road to Indy drivers whose goal is the IZOD IndyCar Series and the Indy 500. We'd like to thank Performance Friction Company and Andersen Racing for their support in making this possible."
Performance Friction is the exclusive brake pad and disc supplier to both the Star Mazda Championship and the newly announced Cooper Tires Presents USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda, and is the overwhelming brake component choice for teams competing in Firestone Indy Lights. All three series are part of the Indy Racing League's "Road to Indy" program. PFC also supplies a variety of open-wheel series in Europe, Japan, Australia as well as NASCAR, IZOD IndyCar Series, ALMS, FIA, ACO, JGTC, V8 Supercar and Grand-Am just to name a few.
"The Star Mazda Championship is a terrific series that produces some of the top racing talent in the sport today," says Don Burgoon, President of Performance Friction. "Open-wheel racing is in our company DNA and we're doing all we can to support these rising stars as they climb the motorsports ladder. It is our goal to support the Road to Indy program at every level and provide these drivers with the very best equipment on the way up."