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2008 MAZDASPEED MOTORSPORTS DEVELOPMENT LADDER
-- Four Series - 46 Races - Over $5,000,000 in Awards --
January 24, 2008 (Irvine, Calif). In late 2006, Mazda North America partnered with Skip Barber Racing. That partnership included the highly regarded BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Series. In early 2007, Mazda announced support of multiple karting organizations. These new partnerships, coupled with already successful programs with Star Mazda, Champ Car Atlantic, and the MX-5 Cup has enabled Mazda to build a ladder like no other. The MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder begins with grassroots karting and autocrossing, and extends to the highest levels of open-wheel and sportscar racing. Simply stated, win a championship in a Mazda series and progress to the next level based upon talent alone.
The 2008 schedules for the four "Mazda only" series are now complete (see attachment) with each of the series visiting some of the most historic and challenging tracks in all of racing. Three of the four series include a stop at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, and several race weekends feature multiple rungs of the Mazda ladder. The Road America race weekend in August will be a triple-header for the open-wheel side of the ladder.
MAZDA REWARDS CHAMPIONS
Open-wheel racers are competing for Mazda awards that take them to the next level in their career:
- One successful kart racer will participate in a full season of the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda in 2008. A shootout will take place January 31-February 3, 2008 in Sebring, Florida to determine the winner.
- Joel Miller, the 2007 Skip Barber National Champion will be racing in the 2008 Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear. Miller will be racing with JDC Motorsports.
- Dane Cameron, the 2007 Star Mazda Champion will be racing in the 2008 Cooper Tires Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Series Powered by Mazda. Cameron will be racing with Sierra Sierra Enterprises who fielded the 2007 Atlantic Champion Raphal Matos.
Closed-wheel sports car racers are competing for these new awards:
- An end-of-season shoot-out was held among all Mazda-powered SCCA & NASA National Champions. From nine eligible racers, Brad Rampelberg, 2007 SCCA Spec Miata Champion won the shootout. Rampelberg was award a new MX-5 and all of the parts to build a 2008 MX-5 Cup car. Rampelberg will be racing with the Hooverspeed Team.
- Jason Saini, the 2007 SCCA Pro Racing SIRIUS Satellite Radio MX-5 Cup Champion will be awarded a drive in the 2008 SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Championship. Saini will be driving for Tri-Point Motorsports as teammate to defending series champion Jeff Altenburg.
Mazda is the brand of choice for road-racers across North America. More than 9,000 grassroots racers compete in various classes with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and the National Auto Sport Association (NASA). Racers who are years away from earning a driver's license can now begin their professional motorsports careers in the Mazda family. A driver can begin in karts and progress through the Skip Barber series, Club Racing Formula Mazda, professional Star Mazda and finally to Formula Atlantic, ALL with Mazda. No other car company has ever connected the dots this way.
On any given weekend, there are more Mazdas on the road-race tracks of America than any other brand of vehicle. At the track, you'll see MX-5 Miata, RX-8, MAZDA3, MAZDA6, RX-7 and other vintage Mazda models competing, because every Mazda has the Soul of a Sports Car. In fact, the largest road-racing class in the world is Spec Miata, with more than 1,500 first- and second-generation Miatas tearing up America's racetracks, making it the most-raced production car in the world. Mazda's involvement in motorsports extends to its relationship with Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, one of the world's premier road-racing circuits, and the Skip Barber Schools for driving and racing.
Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., Mazda North American Operations oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States, Canada and Mexico through nearly 900 dealers. Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada, Inc., located in Ontario, Canada, and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.