Andersen Promotions announces new Mazda Road To Indy cars in 2017/’18, reveals 2016 schedule

Tatuus to produce new USF2000 and Pro Mazda cars that complete the overhaul of IndyCar’s ladder series

Andersen Promotions today announced that Tatuus has been chosen to design and manufacture the next generation of chassis for the first two levels of the Mazda Road to Indy – the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda and the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. The new Tatuus USF-17 and Tatuus PM-18 chassis will make their competition debuts in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Headquartered in Concorezzo, Italy, Tatuus are leaders in the production of the FIA F4 racecar as well as the Formula Renault 2.0 chassis amongst others.

“Since we first met almost 20 years ago, I have known Gianfranco De Bellis and the Tatuus brand of cars and have the highest respect for their product and performance,” said Dan Andersen, owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “To enter into this new venture with them as partners is exciting and I know they will deliver a very high quality, safe and fast racecar – a car that career-minded drivers from around the world will see as a real step up from other open-wheel series cars. The Mazda Road to Indy trains drivers well, and this new race car will only enhance that training for the future.”

The Request for Proposals (RFP) and selection process was led by motorsports veteran Scot Elkins, race director for the USF2000 and Pro Mazda series as well as the founder of TEG Motorsports Consulting and COO of the Motorsports Safety Foundation.

“Gianfranco and the entire Tatuus team really went above and beyond in the RFP process to earn this bid,” said Elkins. “The attention to detail in their proposal and easy acceptance of existing Andersen Promotions’ partners really give us high expectations for these cars and we are ecstatic to have them as partners for many years to come.”

Under the skin

The Tatuus USF-17 is a significant technology leap over the current Van Diemen USF2000 chassis. The USF-17 is a full carbon monocoque chassis built to the latest FIA F3 test specifications utilizing the current Mazda MZR 2.0-liter naturally aspirated engine with additional safety features to meet the specific needs of racing in the United States. These features include full Zylon side intrusion panels and reinforced bulkheads to strengthen the chassis for racing on oval circuits.

The USF-17 will also feature other upgrades such as a six-speed paddle shift gearbox, four-way adjustable dampers, specific design aluminum American Racing wheels, Cosworth data system, LCD steering wheel and ECU, four-piston caliper PFC brakes and IndyCar-specific quick jack and roll hoop attachments.

Uniquely, the PM-18 will use the USF-17 as the base car to help control the operational costs for teams who wish to move up. The PM-18 adds more power over the USF-17 from a Mazda SKYACTIV engine, more sophisticated aerodynamics with a revised underbody and diffuser, a three-element rear wing and a front wing with adjustable composite wing flaps. The PM-18 also adds a higher level Cosworth data system to help train the next level of drivers and engineers in the Mazda Road to Indy.

“All of us at Mazda will be thrilled to see and hear the next generation USF2000 and Pro Mazda cars,” said John Doonan, director of Mazda Motorsports in North America. “As it has been from the start, our primary goal with the Mazda Road to Indy has been to train drivers and see their skills develop through all the steps of the program – all the way to the Indy 500. These next generation cars provide all of the technology, safety and reliable Mazda powerplants that allows young talent to focus on their driving. The Mazda brand is all about driving and the joy that comes from driving a well-engineered car. I am confident there will be many happy and smiling drivers behind the wheel of these new machines.”

Renderings and unveilings

The new USF2000 chassis will be unveiled at the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 next May. Prototype testing is expected to begin in June with car deliveries taking place in the fall. A similar schedule will follow for Pro Mazda.

“With the recent launch of the new IL-15 Indy Lights cars, Dan Andersen has replicated his model for success with these two new cars,” stated Chris Pantani, Cooper Tires’ Director of Motorsports. “Cooper Tire has been grateful to be part of the driver development since the inception of the Road to Indy program. Now, Dan has taken the vehicle development to the next level with state-of-the-art cars for the next two rungs of the Road to Indy, solidifying its place as the one true path to Indianapolis.”

Renderings of the new USF-17 and PM-18 will be unveiled in the coming weeks.

“All of us at Tatuus are very happy and very motivated to have been chosen as partners by Dan Andersen and his team at Andersen Promotions to develop the new Pro Mazda and USF2000 cars,” said Gianfranco De Bellis, CEO of Tatuus. “Dan and I first collaborated back in the late ‘90s, our company’s first experience in the United States, and I have fantastic memories. We will work very hard to offer all of the teams a great product. This is a tremendous opportunity for us in a country with a deep history in motorsports and we are very honored.”

2016 schedules revealed

Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires 2016 Schedule of Events

March 11-13 Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida 1.8-mile street course*
April 1-2 Phoenix International Raceway 1-mile oval
April 22-24 Barber Motorsports Park 2.3-mile road course*
May 12-14 Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.439-mile road course*
May 27 Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.5-mile oval
June 24-26 Road America 4.048-mile road course*
July 9-10 Iowa Speedway .875-mile oval
July 15-17 Streets of Toronto, Ontario, Canada 1.755-mile street course*
July 29-31 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 2.258-mile road course*
September 2-4 Streets of Boston, Massachusetts 2.25-mile street course
September 9-11 Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca 2.238-mile road course*

*Doubleheader events

Upcoming tests include the fifth annual Chris Griffis Memorial Test at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) on November 21-22, Spring Training at Barber Motorsports Park on March 5, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 11 (road course) and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on June 7. Additional test dates, including a test day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, will be announced in the coming weeks.

Pro Mazda will maintain a 16-race schedule featuring five road course, two street course and two oval venues. With the exception of the ovals, all events will comprise double-header rounds. Pro Mazda competitors will once again vie for a Mazda scholarship to advance to Indy Lights in 2017.

Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires

March 11-13 Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida 1.8-mile street course*
April 22-24 Barber Motorsports Park 2.3-mile road course*
May 12-14 Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.439-mile road course*
May 28 Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis .686-mile oval
June 24-26 Road America 4.048-mile road course*
July 9-10 Iowa Speedway .875-mile oval
July 15-17 Streets of Toronto, Ontario, Canada 1.755-mile street course*
July 29-31 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 2.258-mile road course*
September 9-11 Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca 2.238-mile road course*

*Doubleheader events

Test dates include the Chris Griffis Memorial Test at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) on November 21-22, Spring Training at Barber Motorsports Park on March 6/7, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 11 (road course) and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on June 8/9.

The USF2000 calendar will include 16 races held at eight venues featuring five road course, two street circuit and one oval event. Aside from the oval, all rounds are double-headers with the now traditional tripleheader event at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. At stake is a champion’s prize of a scholarship from Mazda to advance to Pro Mazda in 2017.

Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda

March 11-13 Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida 1.8-mile street course*
April 22-24 Barber Motorsports Park 2.3-mile road course*
May 12-14 Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.439-mile road course*
May 28 Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis .686-mile oval
June 24-26 Road America 4.048-mile road course*
July 15-17 Streets of Toronto, Ontario, Canada 1.755-mile street course*
July 29-31 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 2.258-mile road course**
September 9-11 Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca 2.238-mile road course*

*Doubleheader events
**Tripleheader event

The test schedule includes the Chris Griffis Memorial Test at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) on November 21-22, Spring Training at Barber Motorsports Park on March 6/7, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 11 (road course) and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on June 8/9. 

Off-track training for all series will feature the unparalleled Mazda Road to Indy Summit program which will take place over the St. Petersburg and Indianapolis race weekends. Past subjects have included media training, maximizing social media, fitness, performance thinking, creating a sponsorship proposal, the business of motorsports, what team owner’s look for in a driver and simulator training.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Pro Mazda , USF2000
Article type Breaking news
Tags andersen promotions, indy lights, mazda road to indy, pro mazda, tatuus, usf2000