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MAZDA CONNECTS THE DOTS FOR NORTH AMERICAN MOTORSPORTS LADDER
-- Automaker commits to promoting ladder series champions to next level --
March 16, 2007 (Sebring, FL). Up-and-coming race drivers have two major challenges: winning on the track, and finding the resources to move up to the next level. Mazda in conjunction with series corporate partners is making the second task significantly easier for this year's champion drivers. Mazda will provide a next-level, fully-funded ride in a Mazda powered car to the 2007 champions of selected Mazda series.
"We are committed to developing the next generation of racers with a ladder system that provides drivers with Mazda and Mazda-powered open and closed-wheel cars throughout their careers," said Robert Davis, Senior Vice President, Product Development and Quality, and the man responsible for Mazda's North American motorsports operations under the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development banner. "Similar to our contingency program, these are performance-based rewards. Too often the cost of racing has meant that a promising career has stagnated due to a lack of budget. With this initiative, Mazda will change that."
There will be two paths, one for open-wheel racers, and one for those who race sports cars.
Open-wheel racers are competing for these new awards:
- One successful kart racer will participate in a full season of the BFGoodrich Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda in 2008.
- The 2007 Skip Barber National Champion will be racing in the 2008 Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear.
- The 2007 Star Mazda Champion will be racing in the 2008 Cooper Tires Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Series Powered by Mazda.
Closed-wheel sports car racers are competing for these new awards:
- After an end-of-season shoot-out; one winner of a 2007 SCCA Club Racing National Championship will be given a new MX-5 Miata and the parts to build a 2008 SCCA Pro Racing SIRIUS Satellite Radio MX-5 Cup car.
- 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.
Over the past decade, Mazda has developed an increasingly strong presence at road racing tracks around the nation. At the 2007 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring festivities, Mazda is represented in five of the eight races, and six of the thirteen different classes of cars, more than any other brand including Porsche, Ferrari, General Motors, Ford, Dodge, Toyota and Honda.
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 fastest growing road-racing class in the U.S. is the SCCA's Spec Miata class, with nearly 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.
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For more information on MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development, visit www.MazdaspeedMotorsports.com
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