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2017 Mazda Road to Indy schedules revealed

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The Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires schedules for 2017 have been announced and are condensed slightly from the 2016 calendars.

The key note on the overall standpoint is all seasons will finish at Watkins Glen International with the Verizon IndyCar Series, and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will drop off the calendar after serving as the season finale site the last two years. Lucas Oil Raceway and Phoenix International Raceway

The full Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires will be on display at St. Petersburg, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, Road America and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Here’s the quick bullet points before getting into the full release:

Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires

  • 16 races, down from 18, featuring three ovals (Indianapolis, Iowa, Gateway, with Phoenix dropped)
  • Single races occur at the three ovals and the Watkins Glen finale.

Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires

  • 12 races, down from 16, featuring one oval (Gateway)
  • All doubleheaders with exception of Mid-Ohio (three races) and Gateway (one)

Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda

  • 14 races, down from 16, featuring one oval (Iowa)
  • All doubleheaders with exception of Iowa and Watkins Glen, both one-race events.

Here is the full release:

The unique and highly acclaimed three-step Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires open-wheel driver development program, which offers annual scholarships and awards worth over $3.6M to assist drivers to progress from the grassroots to the pinnacle of the sport in North America, will run alongside the Verizon IndyCar Series on all race weekends in 2017.

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A few highlights include the return of Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires and Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires competition to Gateway Motorsports Park, in Madison, Ill., just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Mo. (Indy Lights returns to the 1.25-mile oval for the first time since 2003 while the Pro Mazda series will be making its debut); the addition of Iowa Speedway to the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, which most recently hosted the first rung on the ladder in 2010; and a highly anticipated season finale for all three levels at the Watkins Glen International road course in upstate New York.

Indy Lights will be featured on 10 weekends alongside the Verizon IndyCar Series headline event, marking a total of 16 races with doubleheader rounds on the streets of St. Petersburg, at Barber Motorsports Park, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (road course), Road America, on the streets of Toronto and at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Indy Lights will contest single rounds at Iowa Speedway, Gateway and Watkins Glen. The crown jewel in the series’ schedule remains the Freedom 100 on Carb Day of the Indianapolis 500.

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Pro Mazda will feature a condensed, six-weekend schedule of 12 races in order to allow teams to dovetail their racing commitments with a concerted summer test and development program with the new Mazda-powered Tatuus PM-18 chassis which will be introduced in 2018. Doubleheader rounds will be contested at St. Petersburg, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, Road America and Watkins Glen with a tripleheader at Mid-Ohio and a single event at the Gateway oval.

Pro Mazda incentives for the transitional year until the introduction of the new chassis include an increase in the champion’s Mazda scholarship to advance to Indy Lights from $601,700 to $790,300, bringing the total event and year end prizes to over $1.1M, plus a one-day Indy Lights test for each of the top-three finishers in the championship and a new Pro Mazda Rookie of the Year Mazda Car Award which features a new Mazda street car of choice to the winning driver. Entry fee discounts are also available.

A new National Class prize package, for competitors running in Pro Mazda specification and meeting the older Star Mazda technical requirements by SCCA FA Class competition rules, will be introduced and announced in the coming weeks.

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USF2000 will mark the debut of the brand-new Tatuus USF-17 chassis, which sold out its initial inventory of 30 cars, and will comprise a total of eight weekends and 14 races. Doubleheader weekends include St. Petersburg, Barber, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, Road America, Toronto and Mid-Ohio. Single rounds will be contested at Iowa and Watkins Glen.

While Pro Mazda and USF2000 will not be competing in the lead up to the 101st Indianapolis 500 and Freedom 100, both series will have a presence around the famed race weekend with the Mazda Road to Indy Summit program featuring a variety of off-track training programs to complement the racecraft education on offer in the series including the now traditional Oval Clinic in advance of the oval events on the calendar.

Testing schedules for each series will be announced in the near future.

“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 Dallara IL-15 revitalized Indy Lights competition and I foresee our field counts growing significantly in 2017. We expect the same with USF2000 and the new car, where I do expect 30+ fields. 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. 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.”

This year, the Mazda Road to Indy became the first American racing series with a dedicated broadcast channel on demand via Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku. Road to Indy TV (Pro Racing Group) will be expanding this coverage in 2017 as well as continuing to feature behind-the-scenes content, race recap episodes, special features, live streaming and live shows of on and off-track activities on the Road To Indy TV App.

NBCSN will continue to host one-hour broadcasts of all Indy Lights events with live coverage on the IMS Radio Network to Sirius XM Satellite Radio, indycar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR App from Verizon. ESPN International holds the international broadcast rights with races airing in Canada, Colombia, Mexico and Australia amongst others.

All Indy Lights, Pro Mazda, and USF2000 races will be live streamed with full-length, post-race shows produced by Road to Indy TV available on the series’ respective websites and at indycar.com.

Three Soul Red cars representing the Mazda scholarship winners will be on the grids next year with reigning Pro Mazda champion Aaron Telitz graduating to Indy Lights and USF2000 champion Anthony Martin to Pro Mazda. In addition, the Mazda Road to Indy $200K Shootout in December will determine the Soul Red USF2000 entry as over 20 champions from around the world vie for the prize.

The full schedules:

2017 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires

March 11/12 Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida 1.8-mile street course*
April 22/23 Barber Motorsports Park 2.3-mile road course*
May 12/13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.439-mile road course*
May 26 Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.5-mile oval
June 24/25 Road America 4.048-mile road course*
July 8/9 Iowa Speedway .875-mile oval
July 15/16 Streets of Toronto, Ontario, Canada 1.755-mile street course*
July 29/30 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 2.258-mile road course*
August 26/27 Gateway Motorsports Park 1.25-mile oval
Sept. 2/3 Watkins Glen International 3.37-mile road course

*Doubleheader Rounds

2017 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires

March 11/12 Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida 1.8-mile street course*
May 12/13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.439-mile road course*
June 24/25 Road America 4.048-mile road course*
July 29/30 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 2.258-mile road course**
August 26/27 Gateway Motorsports Park 1.25-mile oval
Sept. 2/3 Watkins Glen International 3.37-mile road course*

*Doubleheader Rounds
**Tripleheader Round

2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda

March 11/12 Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida 1.8-mile street course*
April 22/23 Barber Motorsports Park 2.3-mile road course*
May 12/13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.439-mile road course*
June 24/25 Road America 4.048-mile road course*
July 8/9 Iowa Speedway .875-mile oval
July 15/16 Streets of Toronto, Ontario, Canada 1.755-mile street course*
July 29/30 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 2.258-mile road course*
Sept. 2/3 Watkins Glen International 3.37-mile road course

*Doubleheader Rounds

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”