Mazda Road to Indy 2014 schedules released, will only race with IndyCar

Leave a comment

Andersen Promotions confirmed Thursday its desire to see all three of the Mazda Road to Indy divisions run in front of IndyCar, and only IndyCar, for 2014.

Schedules for Indy Lights, Pro Mazda and USF2000 were all released and the schedules sync up with the recently released IndyCar schedule.

All Indy Lights races will feature same-day coverage on NBCSN with international rights held by ESPN International. Pro Mazda and USF2000 will also be featured on NBCSN with a minimum of four highlight shows, which will also be broadcast on Motors TV in Europe.

Indy Lights has a 14-race slate with four doubleheader weekends on the four road course races at Barber, Indianapolis, Mid-Ohio and Sonoma. The doubleheaders will feature a 40-minute sprint race on Saturday and a 60-minute feature race Sunday just prior to the IndyCar race.

Barber and Mid-Ohio are holdovers while Indy Lights returns to the IMS road course for the first time since 2007. The series returns to Sonoma for the first time since 2010.

The remaining six races are split three apiece between street courses (St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Toronto) and ovals (Indianapolis, Pocono, Milwaukee). Fontana has been dropped for 2014.

Pro Mazda and USF2000 also will have 14-race schedules. All Pro Mazda road and street races will be doubleheaders (six weekends) and standing starts. Oval races will occur at Lucas Oil Raceway Park in Indianapolis the night before the Indianapolis 500, and at Milwaukee in August.

USF2000’s 14 races will come on just seven weekends. All road and street races will be doubleheaders with the exception of Mid-Ohio, which will be a tripleheader as it was this year.

These two series also have the previously announced Cooper Tires Winterfest Championship to look forward to.

Here’s a breakdown of all dates and schedules:

Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires 2014 Schedule of Events

• 14 races
• Three street circuits, four road courses, three ovals
• Doubleheader rounds at all road courses

 Round   Date   Track   Venue 
 1  March 30  Streets of St. Petersburg  1.8-mile street circuit
 2  April 13  Streets of Long Beach  1.968-mile street circuit
 3/4  April 26/27  Barber Motorsports Park  2.38-mile road course
 5/6  May 9/10  Indianapolis Motor Speedway  2.434-mile road course
 7  May 23  Indianapolis Motor Speedway  2.5-mile oval
 8  July 6  Pocono Raceway  2.5-mile oval
 9  July 20  Streets of Toronto  1.75-mile street circuit
 10/11  August 2/3  Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course  2.258-mile road course
 12  August 17  The Milwaukee Mile  1-mile oval
 13/14  August 23/24  Sonoma Raceway  2.385-mile road course

Series Test Sessions

 December 9/10  Barber Motorsports Park  2.38-mile road course
 January 7/8  Sebring International Raceway  1.7-mile road course
 February 21/22  NOLA Motorsports Park  2.75-mile road course
 February 25/26  Barber Motorsports Park  2.38-mile road course
 May TBA  Indianapolis Motor Speedway  2.5-mile oval
 June 3  Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course  2.258-mile road course

Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires 2014 Schedule of Events

• 14 races
• Two street circuits, four road courses, two ovals
• Doubleheader rounds at all road and street circuits
• Standing starts on all street circuits

 Round   Date  Track  Venue
 1/2  March 29/30  Streets of St. Petersburg  1.8-mile street circuit
 3/4  April 26/27  Barber Motorsports Park  2.38-mile road course
 5/6  May 9/10  Indianapolis Motor Speedway  2.434-mile road course
 7  May 24  Lucas Oil Raceway  0.686-mile oval
 8/9  June 28/29  Streets of Houston  1.634-mile street circuit
 10/11  August 2/3  Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course  2.258-mile road course
 12  August 16  The Milwaukee Mile  1-mile oval
 13/14  August 23/24  Sonoma Raceway  2.385-mile road course

Series Test Sessions

 December 9/10  Barber Motorsports Park  2.38-mile road course
 May 3  Lucas Oil Raceway  0.686-mile oval
 June 4/5  Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course  2.258-mile road course

Cooper Tires Winterfest Championship (four races)

 February 21/22  NOLA Motorsports Park  2.75-mile road course
 February 25/26  Barber Motorsports Park  2.38-mile road course

Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda 2014 Schedule of Events

• 14 races
• Two street circuits, four road courses, one oval
• Doubleheader rounds at all road and street circuits with one tripleheader road course event

 Round   Date  Track   Venue
 1/2  March 29/30  Streets of St. Petersburg  1.8-mile street circuit
 3/4  April 26/27  Barber Motorsports Park  2.38-mile road course
 5/6  May 9/10  Indianapolis Motor Speedway  2.434-mile road course
 7  May 24  Lucas Oil Raceway  0.686-mile oval
 8/9  July 19/20  Streets of Toronto  1.75-mile street circuit
 10/11/12  August 2/3  Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course  2.258-mile road course
 13/14  August 23/24  Sonoma Raceway  2.385-mile road course

Series Test Sessions

 December 9/10  Barber Motorsports Park  2.38-mile road course
 May 3  Lucas Oil Raceway  0.686-mile oval
 June 4/5  Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course  2.258-mile road course

Cooper Tires Winterfest Championship (six races)

 February 21/22  NOLA Motorsports Park  2.75-mile road course
 February 25/26  Barber Motorsports Park  2.38-mile road course

Street race in Vietnam could lead Formula One’s Asia expansion

Formula One logo
Leave a comment

TOKYO (AP) — Formula One is expected to add more races in Asia, including a street circuit in the capital of Vietnam, a country with little auto racing history that is on the verge of getting a marquee event.

“We think Hanoi could come on in the next couple of years, and we’re working with the Hanoi government to that end,” Sean Bratches, Formula One’s managing director of commercial operations, told the Associated Press.

There is even speculation it could be on the schedule next season, which Bratches rebuffed.

Vietnam would join countries like Azerbaijan, Russia and Bahrain, which have Grand Prix races, little history in the sport, and authoritarian governments with deep pockets that serve F1 as it tries to expand into new markets.

“This (Hanoi) is a street race where we can go downtown, where we can activate a large fan base,” Bratches said. “And you have extraordinary iconography from a television standpoint.”

A second race in China is also likely and would join Shanghai on the F1 calendar. Bratches said deciding where to stage the GP will “be left to local Chinese partners” – Beijing is a strong candidate.

Bratches runs the commercial side of Formula One, which was acquired last year by U.S.-based Liberty Media from long-time operator Bernie Ecclestone.

Formula One’s long-term goal is to have 24-25 races – up from the present 21 – and arrange them in three geographical segments: Asia, Europe and the Americas. Bratches said the Europe-based races would stay in middle of the calendar, with Asia or the Americas opening or ending the season.

He said their positioning had not been decided, and getting this done will be slowed by current contracts that mandate specific places on the calendar for several races. This means eventually that all the races in Asia would be run together, as would races in Europe and the Americas.

The F1 schedule is now an inefficient jumble, allowing Bratches to take a good-natured poke at how the sport was run under Ecclestone.

“We’ve acquired an undermanaged asset that’s 67-years-old, but effectively a start-up,” Bratches said.

Early-season races in Australia and China this year were conducted either side of a trip to Bahrain in the Middle East. Late in the season Formula One returns to Asia with races in Japan and Singapore.

The Canadian GP this season is run in the middle of the European swing, separated by four months from the other races in the Americas – the United States, Mexico and Brazil. These three are followed by the season-ending race in Abu Dhabi, which means another trip across the globe.

“With the right economics, with the right structure and cadence of events across territories, 24 or 25 is probably where we’d like to be from a longer-term standpoint,” Bratches said.

Big changes are not likely to happen until the 2020 season ends. This is when many current rules and contracts expire as F1’s new owners try to redistribute some income to allow smaller teams to compete.

“There’s more interest than we have capacity in the schedule,” Bratches said, firing off Berlin, Paris or London as potentially attractive venues. “We want to be very selective.”

“Those cites from an economic impact standpoint would find us value, as do others around the world,” Bratches added. “It’s very important for us as we move forward to go to locations that are a credit to the Formula One brand.”

An expanded schedule would have to be approved by the teams, which will be stretched by the travel and the wear-and-tear on their crews. The burden will fall on the smaller teams, which have significantly smaller revenue compared with Ferrari, Mercedes or Red Bull.

Bratches also envisions another race in the U.S., joining the United States Grand Prix held annually in Austin, Texas. A street race in Miami is a strong candidate, as are possible venues like Las Vegas or New York.

“We see the United States and China as countries that could support two races,” he said.

Liberty Media has reported Formula One’s total annual revenue at $1.8 billion, generated by fees paid by promoters, broadcast rights, advertising and sponsorship. Race promotion fees also tend to be higher in Asia, which makes the area attractive – along with a largely untapped fan base.

In a four-year cycle, F1 generates more revenue than FIFA or the International Olympic Committee, which rely almost entirely on one-time showcase events.

Reports suggest Vietnamese promoters may pay between $50-60 million annually as a race fee, with those fees paid by the government. Bratches said 19 of 21 Formula One races are supported by government payments.

“The race promotion fee being derived from the government … is a model that has worked historically,” Bratches said.