Juncos Racing has purchased three new Tatuus PM-18s in preparation for the 2018 Pro Mazda Championship.
The championship has suffered poor grid numbers in its main class in over the past three years as the 13-year-old Star Race Cars-designed machine came to the end of its useful life.
However, the Tatuus PM-18 has been based on the Italian company’s USF-17, which revitalized the USF2000 championship this year, in order to contain costs and encourage USF2000 teams to also run in the higher class. Principal differences are that the PM-18 has an adjustable dual-element rear wing and single-plane carbon fiber front wing with adjustable flaps, larger wheels and tires, and a 275hp 2-liter Mazda MZR-PM18A motor developed by Elite Engines. Power is delivered via a six-speed sequential transmission and limited-slip differential.
Team owner Ricardo Juncos said: “We have been in the Pro Mazda series for nine years now and we would not be where we are today without this series. This series has not only helped drivers grow into the next level, but has helped us grow as a team and a business. We have grown from a Pro Mazda team only to an Indy Lights and Pro Mazda team and now we are expanding to include the Verizon IndyCar Series.
“The new PM-18 car will also help us grow our successful Driver Development Program, which this team is based on, by providing a car that is technologically advanced. In the past we have run four cars in the Pro Mazda series, but next year we will start with a three-car program as we continue to expand into the Verizon IndyCar Series.
“We are looking forward to delivery of the cars in early September, and getting them on track for the Chris Griffis Memorial Test in October.”
Juncos, which currently leads the Indy Lights championship with Kyle Kaiser, won the Pro Mazda championship with Spencer Pigot in 2014, and its current series ace Victor Franzoni lies second in the title race, just four points off the top of the table.
Said Dan Andersen, owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions which operates the Mazda Road To Indy, stated: “There are few teams in the Pro Mazda paddock with the history of Juncos Racing. I am extremely pleased that they’ve stepped up and ordered three of our new PM-18 racecars.’
:This new car will provide vastly increased performance and improved safety, and will close the gap in lap times to Indy Lights. Our goal is to provide the best training for Pro Mazda drivers intent on moving to Indy Lights, and Juncos Racing can certainly offer a great team effort to accomplish that goal.”
“The Mazda Road to Indy is far more than a driver development program: it offers the same benefits for teams as well,” said John Doonan, director of motorsports for Mazda North American Operations. “To see that nearly a decade of involvement in the MRTI by Ricardo Juncos and Juncos Racing led to their entry in the Indianapolis 500 and the Verizon IndyCar Series is something we were thrilled to see.
“Now, we’re also thrilled to see them continue to commit to the Mazda Road to Indy with the order of the new PM-18 Pro Mazda cars. We’re certain they will remain one of the teams to beat in all of the categories of the program.”