Pro Mazda represents the middle rung on the acclaimed Mazda Road to Indy development ladder which provides Mazda scholarships to assist drivers graduating from karting through USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires to the Verizon IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500.
The new National class will be open to any drivers who have reached the age of 20 before March 1, 2016 and is aimed at providing a lower-cost entry point. Eligible cars include those currently running in Pro Mazda specification and meeting the older Star Mazda technical requirements as governed by SCCA General Competition Rules pertaining to the FA class.
"There are so many former Star Mazda racecars competing in North American club racing and in other forms of open-wheel competition that it just makes sense to create an opportunity for interested drivers to sample the fantastic schedule of events we have in the Pro Mazda Championship," said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions.
"With the revival of the National class in USF2000, the model is perfect to use as a replacement for the Pro Mazda Expert class as it does not require any investment in changes required for our championship class car regulations. We look forward to welcoming some new faces and hope they enjoy this great new place to compete."
Entry fees for the new National class will be discounted 50 percent below the regular Pro Mazda rate, and each race winner will earn a free entry for an upcoming event in the same season. The second-place finisher will claim a 50 percent reduction in the entry fee for an upcoming race.
The National Class will utilize the same point system as the former Expert Class. Competitors will vie for their own separate classification and will not be eligible for overall series awards or championship points.
The 2016 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires will comprise 16 races, beginning with a double-header on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., on March 12-13.