Gary Rodrigues, founder and President of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear and M. François Bordeleau, Chief Executive Officer of the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières today announced a three-year contract extension that will see the premier open-wheel driver development series in North America competing at the famed GP3R through the 2014 season.
"The GP3R has become a favorite event among Star Mazda Championship teams and drivers and we're delighted to extend our relationship into the future," said Rodrigues. "Everyone likes to come here because the fans are both knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and because the entire city of Trois-Rivières gets into the spirit of the event. But having a good time is not our sole motive; the GP3R circuit is a highly-technical challenge for our drivers, and the off-track demands on the drivers, the media, the crowds and the busy schedule are perfect training for young drivers on their way up to IndyCar. It fits perfectly with our mission to provide our drivers with the comprehensive, well-rounded education required to make a successful career at the top levels of motorsports."
The Star Mazda Championship has been a fan favorite at the GP3R since its first appearance in 2005; a race won by Luis Schiavo. Subsequent winners have included Matt Varsha (2006), Ron White (2007), Peter Dempsey (2008) and Alex Ardoin (2009-2010). It has also served as a training ground for the next generation of Canadian open-wheel racers such as Mikael Grenier, the Stoneham, Quebec native who competed in Star Mazda at the GP3R in 2009 and 2010, and will be driving the #22 Moore Racing / Xtreme Coil Drilling car in the first-ever Firestone Indy Lights race at Trois-Rivières on Sunday. Other Canadian racers who competed in the Star Mazda Championship race at GP3R include Stephane Roy, Mark Wilkins, Kevin Lacrox and Chris Cumming.
"The Star Mazda Championship race is always intensely competitive and is one of the highlights of the GP3R weekend, even more so this year because there is a race on both Saturday and Sunday," says Bordeleau. "The Trois-Rivières fans feel a special connection with open-wheel racing because they have seen so many top young drivers race here on their way to IndyCar and Formula One, and the Star Mazda Championship has proved over its twenty-one year history that the young drivers you see here this year you'll see racing at Indy and Daytona in a few years. We are proud to be part of that history and look forward to seeing the next generation of stars racing in Star Mazda at the GP3R."
The Grand Prix began in 1967 when members of the Club Autosport Mauricien (CAM), decided to organize a race in the streets of the city. Inspired by the famed Monaco Grand Prix, Mr. Jean E. Ryan, Leon Dufour and Yves Girard, plus a committee of about thirty people, organized and that has now become one of the most unique motorsports events in North America. The GP3R, as it has come to be known, is the site for Rounds 7 & 8 of the 11-race Star Mazda Championship schedule for 2011; it is one of three street circuits on the schedule, and the only weekend to host a double-header.
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