A year on from the unveiling of the Tatuus USF-17 for the USF2000 series, its more powerful sibling the PM-18 will be revealed in Indianapolis next month.
The new car is set to begin a summer testing program around the 2017 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires race calendar, and will be available to teams from June 1 next year. It will become the Pro Mazda series’ spec racecar from the start of 2018, and will be unveiled on the IndyCar stage at PRI on December 8.
The PM-18 uses the USF-17 – which becomes the spec racecar for the USF2000 series next season – as the base chassis to help control the operational costs for teams and encourage them to run cars in both series. The PM-18’s Mazda engine will be more powerful than the USF-17’s, and it will have 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 and will carry larger American Racing wheels and Cooper Tires.
“The USF-17 debuted to rave reviews by our teams in October and we expect the same from the PM-18,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions , which runs all three of the Mazda Road To Indy categories (USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights). “Tatuus has done an outstanding job and we can’t wait to see this car begin prototype testing.
“I have to thank our teams who are willing to reduce budgets for next season in what is a transitional year for Pro Mazda to the new car, and to Mazda and Cooper Tires who have upped the ante for drivers to benefit from their participation with an enhanced awards package.”
Increased incentives for 2017
Pro Mazda struggled desperately for grid numbers this past season, with one race (Iowa) even being cancelled and transferred to the end of season to make a three-race event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Andersen Promotions has responded with incentives for the final year of the current chassis.
The champion’s Mazda scholarship to advance to Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires in 2018 has been increased by $200,000 bringing the total award to $790,300. The champion will also receive an award from Cooper Tires valued at $75,000 and a series entry award valued at $24,000. Year-end prizes will total over $1.1M.
Additional enhancements include a one-day Indy Lights test for the top three finishers in the championship and a Rookie of the Year Award which features a new Mazda street car of choice to the winning driver.
There will be just six double-header races on the 2017 calendar, supporting the Verizon IndyCar Series – St. Petersburg, the IMS road course, Road America, Mid-Ohio, Gateway and Watkins Glen.
The series is offering a $5,000 discount on the PM-18 for each driver who commits to running the entire 2017 season in addition to full-season entry fee discounts.