Series announces final 2011 schedule

THE STAR MAZDA CHAMPIONSHIP COMPLETES THE SERIES' 2011 SCHEDULE WITH THE ADDITION OF THE INDYCAR WEEKEND AT BARBER MOTORSPORTS PARK APRIL 9 -- 10 Pacoima, CA / Dec. 19, 2010 -- Continuing a series of announcements destined to re-shape open-wheel...

THE STAR MAZDA CHAMPIONSHIP COMPLETES THE SERIES' 2011 SCHEDULE WITH THE ADDITION OF THE INDYCAR WEEKEND AT BARBER MOTORSPORTS PARK APRIL 9 -- 10

Pacoima, CA / Dec. 19, 2010 -- Continuing a series of announcements destined to re-shape open-wheel racing in North America, the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear today confirmed the only 2011 event originally listed as a 'TBA' -- the IndyCar weekend at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama on April 9-10. Star Mazda, Indy Lights and IndyCar will all race on Sunday, April 10.

And, in a further development of the growing relationship between the Star Mazda Championship and IndyCar, Star Mazda's official pre-season test will take place during IndyCar's 'spring training' event at a road course to be named shortly. The teams and drivers of the Star Mazda Championship will share the track, as well as press and TV coverage, with the Firestone Indy Lights series and IndyCars. This will be the first of many opportunities during the season for drivers and teams to build relationships around IndyCar's Road to Indy program.

These announcements come on the heels of the major announcement that Mazda has signed a multi-year deal to become the title sponsor of the Mazda Road to Indy; this unique program will offer the most desirable prize any young driver could hope for -- scholarship funding for champions at each level to move up and compete in the next level.

The 2011 champion in the Cooper Tires Presents the USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda will receive a scholarship to race a full season in the 2012 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear. The 2011 Star Mazda champion gets a full-season scholarship to compete in the 2012 Firestone Indy Lights series. And the 2011 Indy Lights champion will move up to race in the IZOD IndyCar series in 2012.

"These announcements, along with several yet to come, mark a major step toward the creation of a fully-integrated, fully-functioning development program for open-wheel racing in North America," says Star Mazda founder and CEO Gary Rodrigues. "I want to thank everyone who worked so hard to make this a reality and to encourage young drivers around the world to pay close attention to the unique and exciting opportunities that Star Mazda and the Road to Indy will offer in 2011 and beyond. Any driver serious about making a professional career in open-wheel racing needs to be a part of this program."

2011 will see the Star Mazda Championship with the most diverse and high-profile schedule in the series' 21-year history. Star Mazda teams and drivers will share the racetrack with IndyCar seven times during 2011; spring training plus six race weekends, including two road circuits (Barber, Infineon), two street courses (St. Petersburg, Baltimore) and two ovals (Milwaukee, Iowa).

Additionally, Star Mazda and the Firestone Indy Lights series will share top billing at the GP3R street circuit in Trois-Rivieres; this marks Indy Lights' first stand-alone event since it raced at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's road course in support of the U.S. Grand Prix in 2007. Rounding out the 2011 Star Mazda Championship schedule are two road course weekends (Mosport and Mazda Raceway) with the American Le Mans series, and the high-profile Night Before the 500 USAC event on the O'Reilly Raceway Park oval.

-source: mazda

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