For the first time ever, every single Mazda Road To Indy presented by Cooper Tire race will take place in conjunction with a Verizon IndyCar Series event.
Some highlights include: all thee series finales occurring at Watkins Glen International on Labor Day Weekend, Indy Lights returning to Gateway Motorsports Park, Pro Mazda making their first appearance at Gateway Motorsports Park, and USF2000 making their first appearance at Iowa Speedway since 2010.
“I am very pleased with our 2017 schedules,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “Not only will they assist both teams and drivers with budgets, they allow us to showcase the Mazda Road to Indy ladder alongside IndyCar at premier venues while once again providing our drivers with experience on ovals, road and street courses.
The Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tire teams and drivers will contest 16 races over 10 events, with doubleheaders occurring at St. Petersburg, Barber Motorsports Park, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, Road America, Toronto, and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Due to the a 2018 transition to the Tatuus PM-18 the Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire season will feature a condensed six event, 12 race calendar. In addition to a shorter schedule leading to decreased budgets, Andersen Promotions and Mazda Motorsports are also offering some more inducements to increase interest in the middle rung of ladder: 1) the Mazda Motorsports advancement scholarship will increase in value from $601, 700 to $790,300, covering a larger portion of an Indy Lights budget, 2) each of the top thee in the championship will be eligible to receive a one day Indy Ligths test, and 3) the Pro Mazda rookie of the year will receive the Mazda street car of their choice.
“With the in-between year for Pro Mazda before the PM-18, we’ve added what we feel is an excellent incentive package to attract more teams and drivers to the grid, including a summer testing program with the new chassis,” explained Andersen. “Mazda and Cooper Tires’ commitment to the ladder is as strong as ever, and once again I have to thank them for being such tremendous partners.”
The brand new Mazda powered Tatuus USF-17 will take part in eight events and 14 races. With the first 15 chassis arriving in Norfolk, Virginia in the last week, the first batch of orders should start arriving at team shops any day now, and the car will make it’s public debut at the Chris Griffis Memorial Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on October 8-9, 2016.
“The Dallara IL-15 revitalized Indy Lights competition and I foresee our field counts growing significantly in 2017” said Andersen. We expect the same with USF2000 and the new car, where I do expect 30+ fields.”
The NBC Sports Network will once again be airing one-hour broadcasts of all Indy Lights races and IndyCar Radio will provide coverage on Sirius XM Satellite Radio, indycar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR App from Verizon.
Available on-demand via Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku, Road To Indy TV will feature expanded coverage in 2017.