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MAZDA MOTORSPORTS RACING TOWARD SUCCESS IN 2005
IRVINE, Calif. - On any given weekend, there are more Mazdas racing with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) - the nation's largest amateur racing sanctioning body - on the racetracks, dragstrips and parking lots of America than any other brand of vehicle. Understanding that the love of motorsports is stronger than ever for fans in North America, Mazda is committed to supporting racing from the SCCA grassroots level to the SPEED World Challenge and Pro Formula Mazda professional series.
"Mazda has all the makings of another stellar year in 2005," said Steve Sanders, manager, MAZDASPEED motorsports development. "Highlighting the upcoming racing season, the Pro Formula Mazda open-wheel racing series is rapidly becoming the training series of choice for up-and-coming open-wheel drivers, and fields approaching 60 cars make this one of the must-see races of any given weekend."
Featuring identical single-seat open-wheel racing cars, Pro Formula Mazda is a breeding ground for developing drivers. A favorite among sponsors and spectators alike, the series runs on the same race tracks used for major-league events, such as the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and offers an attractive championship prize package of $500,000.
All cars feature an advanced carbon-fiber body and use the critically acclaimed production Mazda RENESIS rotary engine found in production RX-8s. Drivers in the series can pursue any one of the five divisional championships based on geographically determined schedules (East, West, Central, Southwest and Rocky Mountain) in addition to the overall North American Championship. Numerous professional drivers have used the Pro Formula Mazda Series as a jumping-off point, such as 2001 Formula Atlantic Series Rookie of the Year Joey Hand, 2002 ALMS 675 Class winner Jeff Bucknum and 2000 Le Mans 24 Hours GT Class winner Bruno Lambert.
The 2005 Pro Formula Mazda Series includes high-profile events where Pro Formula Mazda cars appear as the opening act to some of the world's top-drawing racing series. Due to the increasing popularity of the series, the 2005 season will feature three new venues for a total of 12 races. For the North American Championship dates, the Pro Formula Mazda Series appears with ALMS at nine road-course venues coast to coast, such as Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Road America and Sebring. A testament to the growing popularity of the series, Pro Formula Mazda will appear in 2005 with the Indy Racing League (IRL) on a street circuit in St. Petersburg, Fla., Formula 1 in Montreal at the famous Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and as a guest of the United States Automobile Club (USAC) at Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Mazda North American Operations is responsible for the sales and marketing, customer parts and service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States. Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., MNAO has more than 700 dealerships nationwide.
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