Accomplished racers around the world have their eyes on Mazda’s Road to Indy ladder program.
Mazda's Road to Indy attracts drivers from around the globe. That’s evident with the entry from Carlin Racing, long a true contender in most European formula who are running Ed Jones in the Indy Lights series in anticipation of being part of the Verizon IndyCar Series once they’ve learnt the ropes.
Now comes word that Jake Parsons, the Australian 2014 AsiaCup Series champion - who just signed with Meritus.GP for the full Formula Masters China (FMC) series - is eyeing a test schedule and a future racing program in the Mazda Road to Indy.
Parsons’ title-earning campaign in AsiaCup Series brought in nine wins from 12 starts in 2014; since entering halfway through the Formula Masters China championship series in August of last year, he compiled a fourth-place result in the series with seven podiums from 10 starts - including his three victories.
While he’s excited to be racing in Formula Masters China for the full, 2015 season with Meritus.GP (with whom he won the AsiaCup Series last year), 19-year-old Parsons intends to combine his racing in the Far East with a test schedule here in the USA.
Getting started in America
Parsons had already tested in USF2000 and last September drove a Pro Mazda car at Sebring with Cape Motorsports in anticipation of this kind of move. His mentor for that test was Conor Daly, who had “some great technical tips for me on how to get the most out of these cars,” Parsons said. By the end of the day Parsons was quicker than Cape’s 2014 driver Neil Alberico, who finished third in the 2014 championship.
“I want to look to America and a single-seater career there,” he said, “and where that could lead, whether Indy cars or Formula E. The structure is very good for bringing on young drivers like myself.” It’s no surprise that, as a child, Parsons’ dream job was to be an Indy car driver and he’s making these moves to effect that dream.
Peter Thompson, co-owner of Meritus.GP, the group that has shepherded Jake Parsons as he marches through smaller formulae and will run him in Formula Master China said, “We are delighted to continue working with our AsiaCup Series champion Jake Parsons again in 2015. His success last year shows we have a winner and I expect more of the same this year.
“Meritus.GP took first and second positions in FMC in 2013 and with Jake’s three wins (in FMC) at the end of last year we know we have a winning package.” Parsons, of course, knows the team quite well and made his FMC debut with them at the end of 2014 with good success. “We won three races last year in half a season. We know what we have to do this year.”
Nothing set in stone
It has not yet been announced which team or teams Parsons is speaking with in the Mazda Pro Series and whether a test program has been formalized at this time. But he’s looking forward to once again driving “the best car I’ve ever driven.”
No doubt boosting his worth to team owners, Parsons won the first of two Formula Ford races during the recent Bathurst 12 Hours; he was leading the second race until a collision caused his premature retirement.