Strong Incentives/Reduced Budgets on Offer for 2017 Transitional Year
PALMETTO, Fla. – The highly anticipated Mazda-powered Tatuus PM-18 will make its public debut at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Indianapolis on December 8 – opening day of the world’s largest auto racing trade show. The new chassis, which will begin a summer testing program around the 2017 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires race calendar, marks the latest equipment update of the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires driver development ladder following the introduction of the highly acclaimed Dallara IL-15 and Tatuus USF-17 chassis.
Pro Mazda has long been a staple in driver development and advancement, and next season will see an array of incentives for drivers to experience this vital step. The champion’s Mazda scholarship to advance to Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires in 2018 has been increased by $200,000 bringing the total award to $790,300. The champion will also receive a Cooper Tires Tire Award valued at $75,000 and a series entry award valued at $24,000. Year-end prizes will total over $1.1M.
Additional enhancements include 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.
A cost-effective 2017 schedule – with all six events/12 races in support of the Verizon IndyCar Series – has seen a reduction in team budgets with some programs on offer at the $300,000 mark including a testing program.
The 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 – has also been increased for 2017.
The PM-18 will be available to teams as early as June 1. Uniquely, the PM-18 will use the USF-17 as the base chassis to help control the operational costs for teams who wish to move up. The PM-18 adds more Mazda power over the USF-17, more sophisticated aerodynamics, a two-element rear wing and a front wing with adjustable composite wing flaps. The PM-18 also adds a higher level Cosworth data system to help train the next level of drivers and engineers in the Mazda Road to Indy. Larger American Racing wheels with Cooper Tires add to the package.
For teams, the series is offering a $5,000 discount on the PM-18 for each driver who commits to running the entire 2017 season in addition to full-season entry fee discounts.
“The USF-17 debuted to rave reviews by our teams in October and we expect the same from the PM-18,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “Tatuus has done an outstanding job and we can’t wait to see this car begin prototype testing.
“I have to thank our teams who are willing to reduce budgets for next season in what is a transitional year for Pro Mazda to the new car, and to Mazda and Cooper Tires who have upped the ante for drivers to benefit from their participation with an enhanced awards package.”
The 2017 schedule comprises rounds on the streets of St. Petersburg, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Road America, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Gateway Motorsports Park and Watkins Glen International.
The PM-18 unveiling will take place on the INDYCAR stage at PRI on Thursday, December 8, at 10:00 a.m. EDT.