As official tire for all three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy, Cooper Tires plays a key role in developing the next generation of open-wheel talent.
Beyond providing high-quality, dependable performance tires for Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires, the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda, Cooper Tires today announced it will increase its support by becoming the presenting sponsor of INDYCAR's driver development ladder, now known as the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires.
“It is really an understatement to say that Cooper Tires is a great partner of our three series,” said Dan Andersen, owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions that operates the Mazda Road to Indy under INDYCAR sanctioning. “Chris Pantani, director of event marketing and motorsports for Cooper Tires, and his team are always looking for ways to improve our platform, be it from a competition standpoint to marketing and activation and driver development. Cooper and Mazda have a long relationship which extends outside of Indy Lights, Pro Mazda and USF2000 to other series. It is fitting and appropriate that we now even more so acknowledge their efforts and partnership as the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires.”
Cooper Tires has a formidable presence at every event on the racing calendar from its marketing activation unit, which introduces fans to drivers via hosted Q&A sessions, to funds distributed in Cooper Tires Pole Award presentations across the three series – funding that will increase in 2017 – to the popular Road to Indy TV app powered by Cooper Tires that provides live streaming, timing and scoring and more. Most recently, Cooper Tires was a track sponsor for the Toronto rounds featuring doubleheader races for all three series in support of the Verizon IndyCar Series.
The MRTI hashtag program, launched by Cooper Tires in 2014 and expanded to include full support from Mazda Motorsports in 2015, encourages and rewards drivers and teams that utilize the #MRTI and #TeamCooperTire hashtags in social messaging on Twitter and Instagram.
“Our level of commitment to the premier open-wheel development series is more than just as a sponsor; it is a commitment as a partner,” said Pantani. “The Mazda Road to Indy, now presented by Cooper Tires, is integral to the development of young drivers aspiring to become Indy car drivers. Extending its commitment to provide proven race tires on the track, Cooper Tires develops young drivers' needs on and off the track. This is where the MRTI excels above all other series. Cooper Tire is proud to partner with Andersen Promotions and Mazda to make excellence happen.”
Cooper Tires is also a key partner in the scholarships that allow a driver to progress to the next step on the MRTI ladder. In 2016, more than $2.3 million in season-ending prizes and awards are available.
“This is great news for the Mazda Road to Indy,” said John Doonan, director of motorsports, Mazda North American Operations. “It means a lot to have Cooper Tires alongside us in the entire program. We share similar goals and are committed to building and improving the best open-wheel ladder in the world, and this serves as another sign of continued stability and growth."
The Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires will be in full swing this weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with seven races comprising the Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio (two races), the Royal Purple Pro Mazda Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio (two races) and the Allied Building Products USF2000 Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio (three races). Cooper Tires will be giving away collectible driver trading cards to fans.