Star Mazda Welcomes Champ Car Atlantic Series to Mazda Family
February 15, 2006. On the heels of the announcement that Mazda has become the engine provider and sponsor of the Champ Car Atlantic Series, Gary Rodrigues, President of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear took some time to welcome the Atlantic series into the Mazda fold.
“Those of us involved with the Star Mazda Championship would like to welcome those participating in the Atlantic championship to the Mazda family and are excited at the possibilities that might present themselves,” Rodrigues said. “Mazda has been committed to the development of young drivers since the inception of the Star Mazda Championship and yesterday’s announcement continues to show their passion for North American motorsports and providing a ladder for drivers of open wheel race cars to move up.”
With this news it has now become possible for a driver to progress up that ladder without having to leave the Mazda family. "Adding the Atlantic series to the Mazda portfolio is the perfect addition to our open-wheel racing ladder: drivers can start in Club Racing in the steel-chassis rotary-powered Formula Mazda, graduate to the next level in the carbon-fiber-tub professional Formula Mazda, and then to the Mazda-powered Atlantic at the top rung," said Robert Davis, Mazda North American Operations’ senior vice president, product development and quality, and the man responsible for Mazda's North American motorsports programs.
“We look forward to working with our new family members in the future and are thrilled to see that twelve recent graduates from Star Mazda have been announced to take part in the 2006 Atlantic Championship,” Rodrigues stated. “We expect great results from these drivers and look forward to working with the next wave of competitors when our 2006 schedule kicks off in March at Sebring International Raceway.”
About the Star Mazda Series
The Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear has become the most competitive open-wheel development series in North America, averaging 38 cars per race throughout 2005. Featuring the Pro Formula Mazda, which features a carbon-fiber chassis, six-speed sequential gearbox, and a 240-horsepower Mazda rotary powerplant, the series has helped propel the careers of drivers such as 2004 Champion Michael McDowell, now driving in ChampCar and a race-winner in the GrandAm Series; 2002 Champion Guy Cosmo, who along with fellow Star Mazda graduate Jamie Bach was named 2005 Rookie-of-the-Year in the American LeMans Series, and 2002 race winner Scott Speed, who will line up on the Formula One grid next season.