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MAZDA MOTORSPORTS 2012 – LET THE FINALES BEGIN

- CHASING TITLES FROM COAST TO COAST -

Aug 22, 2012

August 22, 2012 (IRVINE, CALIF)  Mazda Motorsports competes in more road-racing series than any other manufacturer. In addition to going head-to-head with Ferrari, Porsche, BMW, Honda, and other top makes, Mazda supports more up-and-coming racers via the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Ladder and the Mazda Road to Indy.  For 2012 that means over 200 races in over a dozen series at three dozen tracks across the U.S. and Canada.  Thus, we have no single event finale, but rather a series of season-enders where championships will be won or lost.  In chronological order, the Mazda racings seasons will conclude over the next nine weekends as follows:

 

Series:       Pirelli World Challenge – Touring Cars

Finale:       August 24th-26th @ Sonoma Raceway               

Status:       A rookie driver with a rookie (to the series) team are leading the championship with three races remaining.  2011 Playboy MX-5 Cup Champion Michael Cooper used his MAZDASPEED Scholarship money to move up to World Challenge in 2012.  Since he had such a good working relationship with the Atlanta Motorsports Group, the entire team made the move with him.  The results have been impressive with Cooper winning the opening race of the year, and backing it up with five wins in the first ten races.  Cooper has also scored five poles, and has led in nine of the 11 races. 

                  The Sonoma Raceway weekend will be a big weekend as it will be a triple-header with races on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Mazda is second in the manufacturers championship as Cooper is the lone Mazda in a field of Hondas and VWs.

 

Series:       NASA National Championships

Finale:       September 6th-9th @ Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

Status:       The seventh annual NASA Championships will see over 300 entries in over two-dozen classes of racing.  The largest class is expected to be Spec Miata.  Mazda powered champions at the NASA Championships will be eligible to compete in the Mazda Club Racer Shootout.

 

Series:       Cooper Tires USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda

Finale:       September 14th-16th @ Virginia International Raceway

Status:       After ten of 14 races, it has become a two-way battle for lead, with the third place driver gaining in momentum.  Matthew Brabham, son of IMSA legend Geoff Brabham, and grandson of three-time F1 Champion Jack Brabham, leads the points with three wins. In second place is Spencer Pigot who is a former Skip Barber/Mazda karting shootout winner.  Pigot has five wins.  In third place, with two wins in the last four races is 2011 Skip Barber National Champion Scott Anderson.

 

                  The USF2000 teams will race in the second annual Baltimore Grand Prix before heading to Virginia International Raceway.  Both Baltimore and VIR will be double-headers.          

 

Series:       SCCA Runoffs

Finale:       September 20th-23rd @ Road America

Status:       The biggest gathering in club racing is the SCCA Runoffs.  The biggest class is often Spec Miata, which set the all-time Runoff record with 60 starters in 2010.  Expect to see anywhere from four to eight Mazda powered champions earning a right to compete in the Mazda Club Racer Shootout.

 

Series:       Continental Tires Sport Car Challenge – ST Championship

Finale:       September 27th-29th @ Lime Rock Park

Status:       Among the nine competing makes in the series, three have broken away from the pack.  With two races remaining in the 10-race series, Mazda is chasing BMW and Honda seeking to repeat as the ST manufacturers champion.  In the drivers and team championships, it is Mazda in first and third.  i-Moto Racing/Pierre Kleinubing leads the points tally with Freedom Autosport drivers Tom Long and Derek Whitis in third.  Kleinubing has one win, a pair of seconds, and a pair of fifths.  Long and Whitis have been a model of consistency with six top-ten finishes in the first eight races.  Prior to Lime Rock, The Conti cars will race at Mazda Raceway on September 7th-9th leading to the finale at Lime Rock Park.

 

Series:       Rolex GRAND-AM GT Championship

Finale:       September 27th-29th @ Lime Rock Park

Status:       After 11 of 13 races, the top-five in manufacturers’ points are all within 32 points of each other – Ferrari leading Chevrolet, Porsche, Mazda, and BMW.  The #70 SpeedSource RX-8 team has been the top Mazda with one win, four podiums, and nine finishes in the top-seven.  The competition is so tough that the SpeedSource team is fourth in points.  Prior to the finale at Lime Rock, the GRAND-AM championship will visit Mazda Raceway on September 7th-9th

 

Series:       Skip Barber Summer Series – Formula Cars & MAZDASPEED Challenge

Finale:       October 5th-6th @ Lime Rock Park

Status:       Formula Cars -- After the first 12 of the 20 races, Jack Mitchell Jr. leads Jack Eidson, and Andrew Hobbs.  The series will have double-headers at Mid-Ohio, Autobahn Country Club, and Mazda Raceway before concluding at Lime Rock.  The top drivers from both the Winter and Summer series will be competing in a post-season shootout for a Mazda Road to Indy seat in the 2013 USF2000 Championship.

 

                  MAZDASPEED Challenge (MX-5) – After ten of 16 races, Kenton Koch leads Bryan Hixon, and Brett Hawkins for the championship.  The series will have double-headers at Mid-Ohio and Autobahn Country Club before concluding at Lime Rock.

 

Series:       Formula D

Finale:       October 12th-13th @ Irwindale Speedway

Status:       In a world of V-8s, the roar of the rotary engine sings for two RX-8 teams in Formula D, the premier drifting series in the U.S.  Kyle Mohan Racing and Team Bergenholtz will both be seeking to make the finals at Las Vegas (August 24th-25th) and Irwindale, aka the House of Drift, to wrap up the season on a high note.

 


Series:       Skip Barber/Mazda Karting Shootout

Finale:       October 15th-18th @ Virginia International Raceway

Status:       50 of the top kart racers from across the county, as well as international entries will converge on VIR for four days of intense competition.  The top racers will earn seats in the 2013 Skip Barber series as the gateway into the Mazda Road to Indy.

 

Series:       Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered By Mazda

Finale:       October 17th-19th @ Road Atlanta

Status:       With eight wins from the first ten races, Tristan Nunez leads the championship.  The series will race at VIR before concluding at Road Atlanta during the Petit Le Mans weekend.

 

Series:       Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear

Finale:       October 17th-19th @ Road Atlanta

Status:       The oldest continuously run road racing series in America is the Star Mazda Championship, now in its 21st season. With six wins from the first 12 races, series rookie Jack Hawksworth leads the championship over Sage Karam, Gabby Chaves, and Connor De Phillippi.  The series will have double-headers at Baltimore and Mazda Raceway before heading to Road Atlanta.  

 

Series:       SCCA Pro-Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup & Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge

Finale:       October 17th-19th @ Road Atlanta

Status:       The competition in the MX-5 Cup has been fierce with four different winners in the first seven races.  With four races remaining, six drivers have broken away from the pack with Stevan McAleer leading John Dean II, Ara Malkhassian, Christian Szymczak, Elliott Skeer, and Nathanial Sparks.  Before the double-header Road Atlanta finale, the Cup cars will race at VIR, and Coronado Island (San Diego).

 

                  The competition within the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge class has been strong with four different winners.  The three drivers leading the points chase are Zachry Lee, Bryan Hixon, and David Knight.

 

Series:       American LeMans Series Presented by Tequila Patron

Finale:       October 17th-20th @ Road Atlanta

Status:       LMP1 has been pretty much a two-car battle between the Mazda-powered Dyson team, and the Muscle Milk HPD.  The Dyson team scored the win at the season opener at Sebring, and won again this past weekend at Road America in the closest finish in ALMS history.  With three races remaining, Baltimore, VIR, and the season ending Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda, expect even more intensity as the Dyson team seeks to repeat their 2011 season championships.

 

Series:       Mazda Club Racer Shootout

Finale:       November 12th @ Buttonwillow

Status:       The biggest prize in all of club racing for road racers is a full season in the Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup.  To be eligible for the shootout, a driver must win a recognized club racing championship with Mazda power.  This year, for the first time, Canadian racers are eligible for the prize, valued at $75,000.

 

Series:     Skip Barber Racing School Champions Shootout

Finale:      December 14-16 @ Road Atlanta

Status:       The top racers in the Skip Barber Race Winter and Summer Series for Formula Cars compete for a funded season in the 2012 USF2000 Championship.

 

And that’s not all in the world of Mazda Motorsports once the seasons end.  Between now and the end of the year, other key events include:

 

  • An official Mazda Road to Indy Test for USF2000, Star Mazda, and Indy Lights teams on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course.
  • The 2012 Los Angeles International Auto Show (including a Mazda Motorsports announcement)
  • The SEMA Trade Show in Las Vegas.
  • The Performance Racing Industry Trade Show with our fourth annual Mazda Business of Motorsports Seminar

 

 

About Mazda & MAZDASPEED

 

Mazda is the number-one brand for road-racers across North America.  Thousands of Mazda powered grassroots racers compete in various classes with the SCCA and NASA highlighted by Spec Miata, the world’s largest spec class with over 2,500 cars built.  In 2006 Mazda established the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder to assist racers in moving up through the ranks.  In 2010 this was expanded to include the Mazda Road to Indy.  Key to Mazda’s success is strategic partnerships with the Skip Barber Racing School and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

 

MAZDASPEED Motorsports is managed by Mazda North American Operations (MNAO).  MNAO is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers.  Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.

 

Consumer information can be found at www.mazdausa.com with press information at www.mazdausamedia.com  Racers and fans can follow the action on facebook (Mazdaspeed Motorsports).

 

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For further information: Dean Case, Communications Officer, Mazda Motorsports, Mazda North American Operations (310) 318-4582, mazdaspeed@MazdaUSA.com

Mazda Motorsports Season Finales
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