Mazda Paves Road To Indy
For Young Open-Wheel Drivers
Mazda, working closely with Andersen Promotions, has created the most direct and successful open-wheel driver development ladder in the world. The Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires has three distinct steps designed to help young drivers and teams progress from grassroots racing to the top level of racing in North America.
“Mazda has always been very passionate about racing, and we’re passionate about the people in the sport,” said John Doonan, director of Mazda Motorsports North America. “The Mazda Road to Indy provides a very clear path for teams, drivers and crew members to reach their dreams in motorsports. Seeing the long list of drivers in the Indianapolis 500 each year that have come through the Mazda Road to Indy is always very satisfying, and proves the effectiveness of the program. We’re excited to see so many drivers from around the world choose to race with us in the three categories.”
Mazda’s background in open-wheel racing goes back to 1984 with the original Russell Mazda car which evolved into the Star Mazda program beginning in 1991. Star Mazda, now known as the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires, is one of the longest-running road racing series in North America. Star Mazda was the starting point and Mazda added the Atlantic championship in 2006 along with Skip Barber. Following the unification of American open-wheel racing in 2008, INDYCAR now possessed the structure to offer a logical program – a ladder system – for drivers to work their way up toward the pinnacle of the sport.
Since that time Mazda has become one of the biggest supporters of grassroots racing. As the title partner of the Mazda Road to Indy, Mazda will provide scholarships to the champions in INDYCAR’s development ladder system to graduate to the next level.
In 2018, Keith Donegan will compete in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda after winning the 2017 Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 $200K Scholarship Shootout. Oliver Askew, the 2017 USF2000 title winner, will take his second Mazda scholarship to Pro Mazda and Victor Franzoni will compete in Indy Lights after winning the Pro Mazda crown. Each driver will compete in Mazda’s distinctive Soul Red color. Reigning Indy Lights champion Kyle Kaiser will make his Verizon IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500 debut with Juncos Racing.
By partnering with INDYCAR and Andersen Promotions to create the Mazda Road to Indy, Mazda is continually proving that the best way to reach the top is from the ground up.