Race car drivers aren’t born, they’re made. Just like the world’s most competitive professional sports, athletes need to be molded and tested repeatedly to continue to elevate the standards of the sport and to rise above the competition. In racing, a sport of reflex, strength, and endurance, most drivers begin their love for the sport before they’re even allowed to legally drive on city streets.
The Mazda Road to Indy is the breeding ground for tomorrow’s world-class race car drivers, where these athletes perfect their instincts and abilities as they progress through the ladder system. It is comprised of three series: the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires.
Since its launch in 2010, the Mazda Road to Indy has attracted competitors from around the globe. Drivers from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Finland, France, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, United Kingdom, Venezuela, Wales and Zimbabwe have been part of the grids, showcasing their talents at premier venues on a mix of road courses, temporary street circuits and ovals.
The Mazda Road to Indy ladder system:
- Drivers begin on the Mazda Road to Indy in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, a revival of the highly regarded USF2000 series which ran from 1990 through 2006. The goal of the series is to provide a professional, entry-level open-wheel training ground serving as the ﬁrst step on the ladder to an IndyCar Series career.
- From there, drivers move on to the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, formerly known as the Star Mazda Championship, which has developed IndyCar Series stars Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe, Graham Rahal and Tristan Vautier, and rising star Conor Daly amongst others including NASCAR veteran Michael McDowell and BMW factory driver Joey Hand.
- From Pro Mazda, drivers move into Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires. Indy Lights has long been a vital step for competitors to reach the pinnacle of open-wheel racing in America, boasting over 100 drivers as graduates.