With the 2013 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires schedule announced this week, drivers are following suit.
Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda champion Matthew Brabham announced his deal with Andretti Autosport in December, continuing the pattern of the champion graduating to the second step of the Mazda Road to Indy since the formation of the ladder in 2010 (Sage Karam, 2010; Petri Suvanto, 2011).
Joining him is USF2000 standout Spencer Pigot and series sophomore Juan Piedrahita.
Pigot, from Orlando, Fla., finished runner-up for the second consecutive season in 2012 despite having double the amount of wins as champion Brabham. Eight victories and four pole positions came up seven points short in the championship. The 19-year-old has teamed up with driver and team champion Team Pelfrey for the 2013 season.
Click it: Pro Mazda schedule features 16 races
“I'm really looking forward to the upcoming season with Team Pelfrey,” Pigot said. “Dale has supported me for the past year, so now to be able to drive for his team is another great opportunity. I can't wait to get back on track and start working with the engineers to develop the car on Cooper Tires. It's going to be a very tough year but I'm excited about the new challenges. With a great team behind me I'm confident we can fight for wins.”
Piedrahita, 20, returns to front-runner JDC Motorsports after two podiums, five top-five finishes and a seventh overall finish in the championship. It will be his second year with the team at this level of the Mazda Road to Indy, but his third overall, as he spent his lone 2011 season with the team in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship.
"It's great to be back with JDC MotorSports for the 2013 season," Piedrahita said. "I'm very grateful for this opportunity, and for sure plan on fighting for wins and the championship. I want to thank John, and the whole team, for giving me a second year in the Pro Mazda series, and to my long-term sponsors which have supported my career from the beginning. I'm ready to go and fight for wins."
The season kicks off on March 1 in Austin, Texas, at the Circuit of the Americas.