Events at Houston, Cleveland and Toronto have disappeared from the schedule, but the Star Mazda Championship will still begin its 18th season with its traditional date at the 56th annual Mobil1 12 Hours of Sebring International Raceway on March 14 and wind up the season at the Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on October 18. The most substantial change to the schedule involves running two Star Mazda Championship races during the Portland weekend, July 26 – 27, and the addition of a double race weekend at the brand-new New Jersey Motorsports Park, September 13 – 14.
Previously-scheduled Star Mazda Championship races at Miller Motorsports Park, Watkins Glen, Portland (now a double weekend), Road America, Trois RiviÃ¨res, Mosport, Road Atlanta and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca remain unchanged.
“Given the challenges and short time frame that the unification presented us with, this new schedule represents the minimum possible disruption while preserving the maximum possible benefits to our teams, drivers, sponsors and corporate partners," says Star Mazda Championship President Gary Rodrigues. “We even wind up with three races where we are a featured event rather than a support race. I would like to particularly thank Mazda for their extraordinary efforts and their commitment to the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder, of which the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear is a proud and important part."
Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear 2008 Schedule
|Date||Location||With||Circuit Type||Additional Info|
|March 14||Sebring||ALMS||Airport Circuit||www.sebringraceway.com|
|May 17||Salt Lake City||ALMS||Road Course||www.millermotorsportspark.com|
|June 7||Watkins Glen||Grand-Am||Road Course||www.theglen.com|
|July 26||Portland (*)||Feature||Road Course||www.portlandraceway.com|
|August 9||Road America||ALMS||Road Course||www.roadamerica.com|
|August 17||Trois RiviÃ¨res||Feature||Street Circuit||www.gp3r.com|
|August 23||Mosport||ALMS||Road Course||www.mosport.com|
|Sept. 12||New Jersey (*)||Feature||Road Course||www.njmotorsportspark.com|
|October 3||Road Atlanta||ALMS||Road Course||www.roadatlanta.com|
|October 18||Mazda Raceway||ALMS||Road Course||www.laguna-seca.com|
(*) Indicates events with two Star Mazda Championship races on the same weekend
Once again, the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear will be sharing the center stage spotlight with the American Le Mans and Grand-Am series on a combination of road and street circuits. More than twenty-five cars will be making the first standing start in Star Mazda Championship history at 2:50 pm (ET) Friday, March 14, with a unique diversity of nationality, gender, age and family relationships totally unique in the world of auto racing. Included in the mix are racers from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, the U.K., Ireland and Gibraltar. There are three fast young female drivers, drivers ranging in age from 16 to 64, a father/son team and a brother/sister team.
“The diversity and depth of talent represented by the starting field at Sebring is the most eloquent statement I can imagine of the importance of the Star Mazda Championship as a major rung on the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder," says Rodriques. “This unification between Champ Car and the Indy Racing League is causing everyone to have to make some adjustments, but in the long run it’s the best thing that could happen to open-wheel racing.|2008 promises to be the most spectacular and hard-fought season in the 18-year history Star Mazda Championship."
The Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear has grown into one of the most prolific and successful driver development series in all of auto racing. The 2007 prize fund approached $1.5 million U.S.; drivers and teams will be battling for a similar amount in 2008, including a full-season Atlantic sponsorship for 2009.