f you’re looking for proof of how well the
Mazda Road to Indy works as the official
ladder program for the Verizon IndyCar
Series, you don’t need to go combing
through entry lists looking for the lucky
few who’ve managed to claw themselves
a path to the next level. Instead, you just
have to look out at the race track.
Here comes Santiago Urrutia, testing his
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Indy Lights
car. A few months ago, the Uruguayan was
celebrating winning the 2015 Pro Mazda
championship. And the opportunity to
race in Indy Lights, the final step on the
ladder to IndyCar, is his prize for 2016.
Over there is Nico Jamin, last year’s
runaway USF2000 champion who’s now
preparing for his first season at the next
level, Pro Mazda. Like Urrutia, whom he’ll
spend this year trying to emulate, Jamin
earned his new ride by winning.
Each step of the ladder leads to the next,
culminating in one driver earning the Indy
Lights championship and a $1 million
scholarship which provides entry into three
rounds of the IndyCar Series, including the
Indianapolis 500. For 2016, that life-changing opportunity goes to Spencer Pigot.
As one of the young guns hoping to
follow Pigot in 2017, Urrutia is excited by
the momentum the ladder provides.
“I’m very happy to be going into Indy
Lights; it’s one of the best categories in
the world for preparing you to go into a
top series like IndyCar,” he says. “If I win,
I’ll get a chance to race in IndyCar.
Drivers who I raced against in GP3 in
Europe, even if they had a strong season,
couldn’t move up to GP2 unless they
found the money. That’s what is so special
about the Mazda Road to Indy. Plus, the
A new season means a new wave of fast and talented Mazda Road to Indy graduates
MOVING ON UP
preparing to move one step closer to their dream of racing in the Verizon IndyCar Series.
“THE WHEEL-TO-WHEEL OVAL
EXPERIENCE YOU GET ON THE MAZDA
ROAD TO INDY LADDER IS INVALUABLE”
WORDS Mark Glendenning MAIN IMAGE Chris Owens/IMS