Star Mazda joins INDYCAR weekend at Barber

The Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear will be part of INDYCAR's event weekend at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., on April 9-10.

Star Mazda teams will join Firestone Indy Lights and the IZOD IndyCar Series on the race schedule during the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama on April 10 as well as INDYCAR's spring training event at a road course to be named.

It will be the first of many opportunities during the season for drivers and teams to build relationships around INDYCAR's Mazda Road to Indy program.

"These announcements, along with several yet to come, mark a major step toward the creation of a fully integrated, fully-functioning development program for open-wheel racing in North America," said Star Mazda founder and CEO Gary Rodrigues. "I want to thank everyone who worked so hard to make this a reality and to encourage young drivers around the world to pay close attention to the unique and exciting opportunities that Star Mazda and the Mazda Road to Indy will offer in 2011 and beyond. Any driver serious about making a professional career in open-wheel racing needs to be a part of this program."

Star Mazda is one of four series that make up Mazda Road to Indy, which will provide scholarship funding for champions at each level to move up and compete in the next level of the sport.

The 2011 champion in the Cooper Tires Presents the USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda will receive a scholarship to race a full season in the 2012 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear. The 2011 Star Mazda champion gets a full-season scholarship to compete in the 2012 Firestone Indy Lights series. And the 2011 Firestone Indy Lights champion will move up to race in the IZOD IndyCar series in 2012.

Star Mazda teams and drivers will share the racetrack with the IZOD IndyCar Series seven times during 2011; spring training plus six race weekends on two road circuits (Barber and Infineon), two street courses (St. Petersburg and Baltimore) and two ovals (Milwaukee, and Iowa).

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