USF2000 recently provided a first glimpse of its 2017 racecar,
the USF- 17. Set to get its public launch at this year’s Indy 500,
the design will also form the basis for the 2018 Pro Mazda car.
59 MAZDA ROAD TO INDY | INDYCAR.COM
IndyCar teams are watching, too.”
That potential to win your way into a
top-level pro series, rather than having to
rely on funding, is luring an increasingly
impressive lineup of drivers from European
categories. Belardi recently announced
that reigning Formula 3 Euro Series
champion and two-time Macau GP winner
Felix Rosenqvist will move across the
Atlantic to join the Lights field this year.
“Racing on this side of the world will be
very different to what I’m used to, but it’s
a challenge I’m relishing,” said the Swede.
There are other benefits. Lights
graduate and IndyCar Series race winner
James Hinchcliffe points to the oval
experience that MRTI drivers are exposed
to relatively early in their career.
“One of the most daunting things you
can do is run your first laps at Indianapolis,”
he says. “So getting some wheel-to-wheel
action and oval experience before you have
to do it with pit stops and 32 other cars is
invaluable. I can’t imagine having to learn
oval racing at this [IndyCar] level. “
If the presence of a guy like Rosenqvist
is proof of the system’s potency, the real
vindication lies in the Jamins, Urrutias and
Pigots reaping the rewards of their success.
Any championship can give you a trophy.
But if a driver is talented enough, the Mazda
Road to Indy can give them a career.
THREE STEPS TO THE TOP
The fast track to the IndyCar
Series offers new challenges
every step along the way.
The perfect training ground for
young drivers stepping up from
the Skip Barber Racing School,
USF2000 cars produce 170hp
and are a lot of newbie racers’
first encounter with a true
USF2000 also offers most
drivers their first chance to
experience oval racing.
The Pro Mazda series tends to
produce some of the best racing
in America, with a tightly
packed field of young talent
getting used to racecars that
push out 255hp, have far
shorter braking zones than
USF2000 cars, and create the
need for drivers to master the
art of tire management.
To prepare Indy Lights drivers
for their ultimate destination,
the Verizon IndyCar Series,
the Dallara IL15 emulates the
handling characteristics of
IndyCar’s DW12. Its two-liter
turbocharged Mazda engine
produces 450hp, with an extra
50hp on tap for push-to-pass
boost. This, too, has a power
curve that delivers in the
manner of an IndyCar engine.
...at your destination, the
Verizon IndyCar Series.
(MAIN) Taking the next step... Last year’s
Pro Mazda champion Santiago Urrutia
puts his 2016 Schmidt Indy Lights ride
through its paces during pre-season
testing at Phoenix International Raceway.
(TOP) Euro F3 star
Felix Rosenqvist is
switching to Indy
Lights this year,
while (ABOVE) two of
last year’s USF2000
shining lights, Jake
Eidson (left) and
champ Nico Jamin,
are preparing for the
step up to the cut and
thrust of Pro Mazda