Bumgarner, who has competed in the 2008 Star Mazda Championship and is a multiple Philippine motor sports Driver of the Year, expressed her gratitude on the partnership with Mazda Phils. as, according to her, the Indy 500 race is one of her "dream competitions."
"Thanks for helping me get closer to my goal," Bumgarner said. "I hope that this would be a long and lasting relationship."
For his part, Mazda Phils. President Steven Tan expressed confidence that the Filipina racing sensation would do well in the Road to Indy program.
"Competing in the Mazda Pro Championship under the Mazda Road to Indy program is absolutely the right strategy for such a talented race driver like Michele to reach Indy Car," he said. "Michele has the the talent, the experience and a team that can take her as far as she will go. Mazda shares Michele's values of setting extreme goals and defying convention. We felt strongly that Michele is the Filipino personification of Mazda's ideals."
Under the partnership, Mazda Phils.–without disclosing any amount–will provide financial aid to Bumgarner's Indy Car series bid. The Pro Mazda Championship is basically an "arrive-and-drive" program, meaning competitors in the series pay a fee to take part in it. Race drivers who compete in such programs usually rely on sponsorships to be able to join. In Bumgarner's case, Mazda Phils. said its sponsorship will shoulder a part of the costs involved.
Bumgarner has recently left the country to compete in the last three races of the 2013 Pro Mazda series, with two to be held in August at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and the Circuit TroisRivieres, and the last in October in Houston. Besides these, Bumgarner is also lining up testing schedules in a Pro Mazda Formula car to get the chance to join in the top class of the Pro Mazda series, whose final three legs are slated from August to October at Sonoma Raceway.