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Mazda Road to Indy

11 Drivers Set to Try New Pro Mazda Car

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A new era will begin this weekend for the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires as drivers will get their first test behind the wheel of the new PM-18.

The brand new chassis, which was unveiled last year at the Performance Racing Industry show, replaces the Elan Pro Mazda chassis on the second-tier the second-tier of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder, the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, beginning in 2018. It marks the first upgrade for the division since 2004.

The PM-18 shares the same carbon and aluminum honeycomb monocoque chassis as the USF-17, but includes more  sophisticated aerodynamics, larger wheel size, and a 275 HP 2.0-liter Mazda MZR-PM18A motor developed by Elite Engines.

Since the reveal, testing has been undergone by the series, with the car delivered to teams late this past season to begin development for 2018.

While teams have been testing in private, this weekend’s Chris Griffis Memorial Test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway serves as the first public test for the new car. As of right now, only 11 drivers appear on the entry list, ready to take the new car for a spin.

Juncos Racing: Carlos Cunha, Sting Ray Robb, Robert Megennis

Carlos Cunha finished third in the Pro Mazda standings last year for Team Pelfry with six podiums. It is worth noting he will be taking part in the second day of Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires testing with Juncos, as well.

Sting Ray Robb placed sixth in the Pro Mazda Standings in 2017 for World Speed Motorsports in his rookie campaign with four top-fives.

Robert Megennis finished sixth in Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda with Team Pelfry following a win in the season-opener at St. Petersburg. He also ran the Pro Mazda season finale for Team Pelfry at Watkins Glen, crashing in the opening race of the weekend, which resulted in failing to start the second.

Cape Motorsports: Oliver Askew

After winning the USF2000 Championship last year with Cape, Oliver Askew moves up to Pro Mazda with the team. En route to the title in his rookie season, he scored seven wins and 11 podiums.

Pabst Racing: Calvin Ming

Calvin Ming placed fifth in the USF2000 standings in his rookie campaign with Pabst Racing, picking up four podiums.

BN Racing: Leonard Hoogenboom and David Malukas

Leonard Hoogenboom enters the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system with experience in Italian F4 and ADAC F4.

David Malukas ran nine of the 14 USF2000 races last year as a rookie with BN Racing, scoring a season-best runner-up at Road America.

Team Pelfry: Kris Wright and Kaylen Frederick

Kris Wright ran seven of the 12 Pro Mazda events in 2016 as a rookie, picking up a season-best fifth at Watkins Glen International.

Kaylen Frederick finished fourth in the USF2000 standings as a rookie with Team Pelfrey, scoring five podiums.

Exclusive Autosport: Parker Thompson and Nikita Lastochkin

Parker Thompson placed third in the USF2000 points driving for Exclusive Autosport with three victories in the last five events. The previous season in 2016, he was the series runner-up with Cape Motorsports.

Nikita Lastochkin finished fifth in the Pro Mazda standings with Team Pelfry as a rookie, scoring a pair of podiums.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularOpenWheel.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Ashley McCubbin is currently studying journalism at the University of Guelph-Humber while writing for multiple websites. She also serves on the managing staff for a select few. Born in North York, Ontario, McCubbin currently lives in Bradford, Ontario and spends her weekend at the local short tracks in the area where she enjoys taking photos and working on websites.

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