Road to Indy
PM-18 Incentive Program and Details Released
As the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires gets ready to release a brand new car for 2018, the series released the guidelines, as well as an incentive program on Wednesday.
“All of us at Andersen Promotions, Mazda, and Cooper Tires are fully committed to the Pro Mazda class and to securing the healthy grids we have seen the past few years,” said Dan Andersen, Owner, and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “With the PM-18 making its competition debut in 2018, we felt the need for a fresh and strong commitment now, and I have to thank our great partners in Mazda and Cooper Tires for their increased support.
“We believe the opportunity to reduce budgets with a shortened season next year combined with a summer testing program of the new car and an increased prize package and program incentives will open the door for more drivers to join the series. Our 2016 incentives are designed for drivers to have the opportunity to jump in now and compete at three great venues.”
The PM-18 will be available for teams as early as June 1 to allow teams to put together a summer testing program to prepare for the 2018 season. For teams looking to purchase the car, Andersen Promotions has stated they’ll offer a $5,000 discount for each driver who commits to running the entire 2017 season, in addition to its almost 20 percent full-season entry fee discount.
To help teams balance their budgets, the 2017 calendar will see a reduction in the number of events from eight to six, with the number of races decreasing to 16 from 14. Series officials don’t anticipate hurting the level of competition with the adjustment as the schedule will still offer a proper mix of different circuits, including one oval, one street circuit, and four road course events.
Andersen Promotions is also looking for ways to get more drivers enticed to run Pro Mazda by increasing the Pro Mazda champion’s Mazda scholarship to advance to Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires in 2018 will be increased from $590,300 to $790,300 next year bringing the total event and year-end prizes to over $1.1M. Additionally, the Cooper Tires Pole Award will be increased to $1,500 per race.
A new National Class prize package, for drivers 20 years of age and older competing in cars running in Pro Mazda specification and meeting the older Star Mazda technical requirements by SCCA FA Class competition rules, also will be introduced. Anderson Promotions will also add 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.
“Mazda shares Dan Andersen’s enthusiasm for the Pro Mazda category, and we believe strongly in providing value to our entrants,” said John Doonan, Director of Motorsports for Mazda North American Operations. “A large increase in the champion’s scholarship amount, along with so many other enhancements – like a brand new Mazda for the Rookie of the Year – will add to the value of the entire Mazda Road to Indy ladder system. This is also good for our fans, as we strive to put a larger field of cars on the track while anticipating the new PM-18 chassis.”
While noting there are still three venues remaining on the schedule, there have been some incentives already introduced for this year to give drivers seat time in advance of next year. They’ve added $52,500 to the prize structure with championship class finishing positions of sixth through tenth now earning an increased purse of $1,000 for each race. In the National Class, $17,500 has been added with $1,500 for a race win, $750 for a second and $250 for a third-place finish.
Additionally, race entry fees for non-points entrants for the rest of 2016 will be reduced by 50 percent. There will also be a team bonus issued in the form of a $500 credit off of 2017 team registration fees for each new car/driver added for one or more races in 2016 up to a total credit of $2500. Teams adding a new driver for all remaining events will also receive one free set of Cooper tires.
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