Streamlining of Mazda Road to Indy beginning to take shape

IndyCar, IndyCar commentary — By on October 8, 2013 6:42 pm

At the moment, the Mazda Road to Indy is in a constant state of flux, integration, and growth under the guidance and leadership of its now-sole promoter, Dan Andersen.

For example, it’s clear that the schedules for all three series will be released sooner rather than later, perhaps as early as within the next two weeks.

Andersen also made it clear that the Mazda Road to Indy series will be treated as true companion series to IndyCar in 2014 and shed a little light on how that series schedule might look as well.

“We will be doing 7 events with 14 races for USF2000, 8 events with 14 races for Pro Mazda, and 10 events with 14 races for Indy Lights,” Andersen said.

“All seven USF2000 events will be with Pro Mazda and Indy Lights. Pro Mazda will have one more oval than USF2000, and Indy Lights will add Long Beach and Pocono to what Pro Mazda does. We’ll all be together for the most part, which is great.”

Andersen also said to expect good news on the chassis and engine partnerships for Indy Lights in the very near future.

“We are looking at two weeks until a chassis decision. It’ll probably be another month until the engine is finalized, though. I’m not getting the proposals that I want on the engines yet.”

Andersen confirmed earlier reports that Dallara, Multimatic, and Mygale are the three chassis builders that are still in the running. Andersen also confirmed that he had separate meetings with all three manufacturers this past weekend during the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston weekend.

Andersen is playing his cards close to his vest in regards to the engine manufacturers that he is negotiating with, but he stated in August that up to five companies were bidding to become the series new engine partner. Pro Mazda currently uses Speedsource engines, while the USF2000 series runs Elite engines.

While those announcements will help to buoy the series car counts for the coming season, Andersen also has more ideas on the business side of the sport to help both drivers and team owners.

“I’m going to set up a compound for all three series, and I’m looking forward to it,” Andersen said. “We have a lot of ideas for meet and greets and sponsor things for the different teams. We’ll bring all the teams together and let them network with each other. We have three series with a lot of individual sponsors, so it’ll be good for them and good for the series.”

“We’ll do driver meet and greets with team owners, so if a USF2000 driver wants to meet an Indy Lights team owner we’ll do breakfast meetings for them to get together. There’s a lot of synergies we can work out with the three levels.”

“Some of our Pro Mazda teams are buying Indy Lights cars, and some of our USF2000 teams are buying Pro Mazda cars. We have a style of doing things that teams seem to like. There’s a lot of enthusiasm out there. I’ve been around long enough to know not to count them until they show up on the grid, but I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ll see improvement next year.”

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