Lucky 13th ALMS class win in Sebring and a Plethora of MAZDASPEED Ladder Driver Race Wins Highlight Season Openers in the Sunshine State
March 27, 2012 (IRVINE, Calif.) With more cars being road-raced than any other brand, Mazda racks up wins almost every weekend of the year. MAZDASPEED Motorsports represents both a commitment to quality, durability and reliability as well as a sincere desire to help aspiring racers advance their career.
“It’s not that we win, it’s how and why we win,” noted John Doonan, Director, Mazda Motorsports for Mazda North American Operations. “Our club racers are the heart and soul of what we do, and to see those drivers advance to the top rungs of the sport is fantastic. Because of the MAZDASPEED Ladder and the Mazda Road to Indy, over a quarter of the IZOD Indycar field at St. Pete has roots with Mazda.”
The 2012 season for MAZDASPEED Motorsports will consist of more than 200 individual races in over a dozen series at three dozen race tracks across the U.S. and Canada. A half-dozen professional series had their season openers in Florida this month on two big weekends, and Mazda-powered cars outnumbered the competition at both weekends. In total, more than 100 Mazda-powered racers participated in 13 races with over 18 hours of racing!
60th Anniversary Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida:
- American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón (Round 1 of 10)
- SCCA Pro-Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup (Rounds 1 2 of 11)
- Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered By Mazda (Rounds 1 2 of 12)
- Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda (Rounds 1 2 of 14)
Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg:
- Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear (Rounds 1 2 of 17)
- Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda (Rounds 3 4 of 14)
- Pirelli World Challenge (Rounds 1 2 of 13)
Mazda also made noise off the track with key recent announcements :
- Mazda announced TV coverage of the Playboy MX-5 Cup, Star Mazda and USF2000 series. The Velocity Network will broadcast 24 hours of the three series throughout the season, beginning Saturday, April 21. Both the Star Mazda and USF2000 Championships also will be distributed worldwide on ESPN International.
- MAZDASPEED Motorsports partner Skip Barber Racing School has been selected as the official racing school of INDYCAR, thus connecting the final dots on the Mazda Road to Indy such that a racer can start in karts and advance all of the way to the IZOD Indycar series.
- The combined count between the four Mazda spec series was over 100 drivers from a dozen-plus countries. In addition to some of the best American roadracers, top talent from Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela, Chile, Finland, Norway, Korea, Australia, Scotland and England joined the action.
- The 2012 Mazda Club Racer Shootout will include Canadian racers for the first time. Mazda Canada will be supporting their racers with contingency prize money in key series.
- Mazda racing stalwart Jim Downing was inducted into the Sebring Hall of Fame for his success on the track with Mazda racecars, as well as his safety contributions to the sport.
- Mazda executives presented their Business/Marketing/PR 101 seminar as a part of the Mazda Road to Indy Summit in St. Petersburg. This is a must attend event for drivers competing in Indy Lights, Star Mazda, and USF2000.
- The Dyson Mazda team kicked off their ALMS P1 title defense at Sebring with a class win and an eighth place overall at Sebring. The team did an amazing job having only received their new Lola the week prior to the race.
- This was the 13th class win for a Mazda-powered racecar in the Sebring 12-Hour since their first win in 1980.
- The second round of the ALMS season will be on the streets of Long Beach, on Saturday, April 14.
- Mazda started the 2012 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season with three RX-8s in the top-12 in the GT class at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
- Mazda is in fourth place, among eight brands, in the GT manufacturers championship.
- Round two for the GRAND-AM Championship is Saturday, March 31 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala.
From the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge:
- The i-Moto Racing team helped Mazda start their 2011 Continental Tire Challenge Street Tuner (ST) Manufacturers Championship title defense with a win in the Daytona season opener in their MAZDASPEED3.
- Round two for the Continental Tire Championship is Saturday, March 31 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala.
From Pirelli World Challenge:
- The 2012 Pirelli World Challenge kicked off in the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.
- 2011 MX-5 Cup Champion Michael Cooper made his World Challenge debut in an Atlanta Motorsports Group-prepared MAZDASPEED3 and scored back-to-back wins to lead the drivers points chase.
- The next round for World Challenge Touring Cars will be April 27-29 at Miller Motorsports Park. This event will also see the debut of the World Challenge “B-Spec” class.
From the Skip Barber Racing School (SBRS):
- With just two races remaining, Jake Eidson leads the 2011-2012 Skip Barber Presented by Mazda Winter Formula Car series. The series concludes April 15 at Sebring International Raceway.
- Nine SBRS racers took part in the season opening MX-5 Cup races at Sebring. Dennis Trebing won both races to take an early season points lead.
- Additional information on the Skip Barber Racing School can be found at www.skipbarber.com
From the Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear:
- The longest running road-racing series in America kicked off its 22nd season with 22 racers from eight countries including a strong contingent of South American entries.
- St. Pete was a double-header with races won by Connor De Phillippi and Jack Hawksworth. Hawksworth leads the point chase going into Barber Motorsports Park next week.
- 2011 Star Mazda Champion Tristan Vautier won the opening round of the Firestone Indy Lights Championship in his Mazda Road to Indy car.
- For additional information visit www.StarMazda.com
From the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda:
- The third season for the USF2000 Championship began with a record 36 entries at Sebring, and 34 cars at St. Pete.
- After four of 14 races, the points leader is Spencer Pigot, who won three races. He is closely pursued by Matt Brabham, who has one win and three seconds.
- Additional information on the series can be found at www.usf2000.com
SCCA Pro-Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup
- The two season opening Sebring races were won by Stevan McAleer and John Dean.
- New for 2012 is a class for entries from Skip Barber Racing School with their own championship
- 2011 Mazda Club Racer Shootout winner Elliott Skeer leads the points race after the first two races at Sebring having finished on the podium in both races.
- Additional information on the series can be found at www.MX-5Cup.com
Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda
- 16-year old Tristan Nunez broke the record for youngest winner in series history when he won the first of two races at Sebring. Nunez repeated the win in round two to take a strong early season point lead.
- Additional information on the series can be found at www.prototypelites.com
- Mazda customers will go head to head with competition from Honda, KIA, MINI, Ford, and Fiat in the next generation of showroom-stock racing.
- Mazda2 B-Spec kits are on sale for $2575. Details are located at www.mazdamotorsports.com
- Three sanctioning bodies; SCCA, GRAND-AM, and the Canadian Touring Car Championships (CTCC), will be including B-Spec in 2012.
- SCCA will include B-Spec at three Pirelli World Challenge weekends.
- GRAND-AM will stage stand-alone B-Spec races at six GRAND-AM weekends.
- CTCC has added a B-Spec class for their entire 2012 season.
From Formula D:
- The 2012 Formula D drift season will kick off in the streets of Long Beach on April 6-7. Team Bergenholtz and Kyle Mohan Racing will once again challenge in their RX-8s.
From Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca:
- The 2012 season at Mazda Raceway will be diverse and world class with five great events planned.
- American Le Mans Monterey, presented by Patron (May 11-12)
- Ferrari Racing Days (May 18-20)
- Red Bull United States Grand Prix featuring the MotoGP World Championship (July 27-29)
- Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion (August 17-19)
- Continental Tire Sports Car Festival, Powered by Mazda (September 7-9)
- Additional information can be found at www.mazdaraceway.com
About Mazda MAZDASPEED
Mazda is the number-one brand for road-racers across North America. Thousands of Mazda powered grassroots racers compete in various classes with the SCCA and NASA highlighted by Spec Miata, the world’s largest spec class with over 2,500 cars built. In 2006 Mazda established the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder to assist racers in moving up through the ranks. In 2010 this was expanded to include the Mazda Road to Indy. Key to Mazda’s success is strategic partnerships with the Skip Barber Racing School and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
MAZDASPEED Motorsports is managed by Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). MNAO is headquartered in Irvine, Calif. and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States, Canada and Mexico through nearly 900 dealers. Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada, Inc., located in Ontario; and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.
Consumer information can be found at www.mazdausa.com with press information at www.mazdausamedia.com Racers and fans can the action on facebook (Mazdaspeed Motorsports).