Mazda Ladder Series Update For many road-racing fans, the annual season begins with Sebring in March and ends at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in October. At Sebring this year, Mazda announced their first-in-the-industry approach to promoting drivers based on talent alone along a structured ladder. Mazda committed to provide a next-level, fully-funded 2008 ride in a Mazda powered car to the 2007 champions of selected Mazda series.
“As we stated at the beginning of the year we are committed to developing the next generation of racers with a ladder system that provides drivers with Mazda and Mazda-powered open and closed-wheel cars throughout their careers,” said Robert Davis, Senior Vice President, Product Development and Quality, and the man responsible for Mazda’s North American motorsports operations under the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development banner. “We are happy to be working with a talented group of 2007 champions. We have high hopes for Dane Cameron, Joel Miller, and Jason Saini. We hope they follow in the steps of Raphael Matos, who has raced and won in just about every Mazda series there is.”
Open-wheel racers are competing for these new awards:
· The 2007 Star Mazda Presented by Goodyear Champion will be racing in the 2008 Cooper Tires Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Series Powered by Mazda. With one race to spare, Dane Cameron, from Glen Ellen, Calif clinched the title. And now, Cameron has signed with Sierra Sierra Racing for 2008. Sierra Sierra won the 2007 Atlantic Championship with driver Raphael Matos. Matos is a past champion of both the Star Mazda series (2004), and Skip Barber (2002).
· The 2007 BFGoodrich Skip Barber National Champion Presented by Mazda will be racing in the 2008 Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear. The 2007 Skip Barber Champion is Joel Miller from Hesperia, Calif. Miller is in Monterey this weekend talking to a variety of Star Mazda teams to decide which team he’ll join in 2008.
· One successful kart racer will participate in a full season of the BFGoodrich Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda in 2008. This selection process will be conducted via a shootout in Sebring in late January jointly hosted by Mazda and Skip Barber. A formal announcement of the shootout participants will be made at a later date.
Closed-wheel sports car racers are competing for two awards:
· The 2007 SCCA Pro Racing SIRIUS Satellite Radio MX-5 Cup Champion will be awarded a drive in the 2008 SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Championship. Jason Saini won the 2007 MX-5 and is talking to both Tri-Point Motorsports and Tindol Motorsports this weekend to determine which MAZDA6 he will race in 2008.
· After an end-of-season shoot-out; one winner of a Club Racing National Championship (from either SCCA or NASA) will be given a new MX-5 Miata and the parts to build a 2008 SCCA Pro Racing SIRIUS Satellite Radio MX-5 Cup car. This shootout will take in early December.
There are nine eligible drivers
o Keith Wise Newark, Ohio NASA PTA Mazda RX-7
o Brad Bradfield Aptos, Calif. NASA PTB Mazda RX-7
o Greg Stasiowski Canonsburg Pa NASA PTB Mazda MX-5 Miata
o Todd Lamb Covington, Ga NASA Sp MiataMazda MX-5
o Brad Rampelberg San Jose, Ca. SCCA Sp MiataMazda MX-5
o Jim Goughary Jr. Jupiter, Fla. SCCA For Mazda For Mazda
o Robert Huffmaster Rochester Mi SCCA T3 Mazda RX-8
o Thomas Thrash Jr. Houston, Tx SCCA EP Mazda RX-7
o Jesse Prather Topeka, Ks. SCCA FP Mazda MX-5 Miata
Andrew Caddell won the 2006 shootout and went on to win two races in the 2007 MX-5 Cup and finish second to Jason Saini in the championship.
Mazda is the brand of choice for road-racers across North America. More than 9,000 grassroots racers compete in various classes with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and the National Auto Sport Association (NASA). Racers who are years away from earning a driver’s license can now begin their professional motorsports careers in the Mazda family. A driver can begin in karts and progress through the Skip Barber series, Club Racing Formula Mazda, professional Star Mazda and finally to Formula Atlantic, all with Mazda. No other car company has ever connected the dots this way.
On any given weekend, there are more Mazdas on the road-race tracks of America than any other brand of vehicle. At the track, you’ll see MX-5 Miata, RX-8, MAZDA3, MAZDA6, RX-7 and other vintage Mazda models competing, because every Mazda has the Soul of a Sports Car. In fact, the largest road-racing class in the world is Spec Miata, with more than 1,500 first- and second-generation Miatas tearing up America’s racetracks, making it the most-raced production car in the world. Mazda’s involvement in motorsports extends to its relationship with Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, one of the world’s premier road-racing circuits, and the Skip Barber Schools for driving and racing.
Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., Mazda North American Operations oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States, Canada and Mexico through nearly 900 dealers. Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada, Inc., located in Ontario, Canada, and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.