2010 MAZDASPEED Ladder Update New series and partners, more promotion from within While others are retreating, MAZDASPEED is looking to advance even more in 2010. Everyone knows that the economic changes of 2008 and 2009 have been difficult...
2010 MAZDASPEED Ladder Update
New series and partners, more promotion from within
While others are retreating, MAZDASPEED is looking to advance even more in 2010. Everyone knows that the economic changes of 2008 and 2009 have been difficult for the auto industry and motorsports, but by focusing on grassroots road-racing and helping aspiring racers advance to the next level, MAZDASPEED has carved a unique niche within the sport that has proven to be sustainable. That sustainability means growth in 2010, with new partners and a new series.
For 2010, two of the Mazda-powered series are a formal part of the "Road to Indy" -- the Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear, now in its 20th year, and the new Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.
Mazda chose the annual American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) Gala to update media on 2009 successes and announce these 2010 plans.
John Doonan, MAZDASPEED Motorsports Business Development Manager, spoke at length about the unique Mazda approach to motorsports; "When we established the MAZDASPEED Ladder, our goal was to help drivers who race with Mazda to advance -- based entirely upon talent and the ability to win. You win a championship, you advance to the next level. It is working so well that we have been able to add new partners like VISIT FLORIDA to our team for 2010. VISIT FLORIDA will be very visible with our Star Mazda Championship, both at the track and on TV."
"The latest changes for 2010 reflect the fact that our program is attracting favorable outside attention. We're pleased that the Indycar community has recognized that our many series have produced outstanding talent. Indycar drivers like Graham Rahal, Marco Andretti, Raphael Matos and others had successful runs in Skip Barber, Star Mazda and the Atlantic Championship on their way to the IZOD Indycar series. We expect more to follow. The new USF2000 Championship adds another cost effective rung on both ladders to showcase talent and build experience."
"We're also pleased to continue our involvement with karting, the largest grassroots feeder system into open wheel racing. We have renewed our contract with the World Karting Association (WKA) for 2010. WKA racers have been competing in our annual Skip Barber/Mazda karting shootout."
"On the sports car side, we have programs like our fourth annual club racing shootout that are working extremely well. This year we had 13 eligible racers from the SCCA, NASA and the Skip Barber school series. From those 13, five made it to the final round. From those five, Nick Evans was selected by our outside team of judges to move from club racer to the professional ranks. Nick will be racing in the 2010 SCCA Pro Racing Playboy MX-5 Cup."
"Our 2009 Playboy MX-5 Cup Champion, Todd Lamb, will be taking a different route than his predecessors Jason Saini and Eric Foss. Todd is taking his Mazda support and his own business skills to develop partnerships, and will race in the 2010 Rolex Grand-Am GT series with the Racers Edge Mazda RX-8 team. Todd will be making his Grand-Am debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona at the end of the month."
"The less formal aspect of our ladder has been promotion from within. We are pleased that so many of our teams, in all series, look to promote from within the family. We're thrilled that the SpeedSource Rolex Grand-Am team has hired Jonathan Bomarito to co-drive with Sylvain Tremblay in the #70 Castrol Mazda RX-8. Jonathan has been a standout in the Atlantic Championship for several years now. Dempsey Racing also tested Atlantic drivers John Edwards and Simona De Silvestro at the Daytona test last week. It's clear that if you want to get to the next level, there are more opportunities if you have spent time with Mazda."
The 2010 MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder Drivers are as follows:
Adam Christodoulou -- The 2009 Star Mazda Champion has earned a Mazda supported ride in the 2010 Cooper Tires Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda. Adam is currently testing with Atlantic teams.
Connor De Phillippi -- The 2009 BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Champion will be racing in the 2010 Star Mazda Championship. Connor is currently testing with Star Mazda teams.
Nick Evans -- The winner of the 2009 SCCA Mazda powered Formula Enterprise race at the Runoffs and the club racing shootout champion. Nick is meeting with and testing with the Playboy MX-5 Cup teams.
Todd Lamb -- Todd won the 2009 SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup with eight straight wins. Todd is making a big move to join Racers Edge to compete in the 2010 Rolex Grand-Am GT Championship in a Mazda RX-8.
Spencer Pigot & Felix Serralles -- These two talented Florida teenagers won the Skip Barber/Mazda Karting Shootout at the end of December. Both will be racing in the 2010 BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda.