Background Image
Previous Page  12 / 34 Next Page
Show Menu
Previous Page 12 / 34 Next Page
Page Background


by Marco Cortesi

When it comes to IndyCar dreams, the Mazda Road To Indy program is

the number one choice. The three‐step ladder, created in collaboration

with the Japanese manufacturer, is almost entirely managed by Andersen

Promotions after their acquisition of Indy Lights from IndyCar which still

overviews the program. The outstanding feature is represented by the

monetary assistance offered to the champions for making the step to the

upper categories. The monetary bonuses are actually good enough to

cover a large part of the required budgets in an effort to make driving

skills the deciding factors. The ladder also has a karting program in the

Rotax Max Challenge, while the USF2000 series is the starting point in

single seaters. The USF2000 champion receives a 200.000 dollar bonus

towards Pro Mazda which, albeit superior in terms of performance, is still

quite far away from the European counterparts.

Bonuses up to one million dollars

The Pro Mazda Champion is awarded 500.000 dollars, good enough to

cover half of the budget required for the Indy Lights championship, which

is a turning point in terms of skills involved. The teams and equipment are

top‐class, and the drivers can experience driving on ovals for the first time.

The Indy Lights Champion gets one one million dollars, enough to cover

the budget needed for three or four IndyCar outings, including the Indy

500. With plenty of room for leaving a strong impression, more

opportunities might then be on the way.

Urrutia on the move

Just a few drivers took steps in all four series before lining‐up in IndyCar.

Sage Karam, who won the USF2000 series in the program’s opening year,

managed to find a top‐level gig in 2015 with Chip Ganassi Racing. He also

dominated the 2013 Indy Lights championship. Tristan Vautier won Pro

Mazda in 2011 and Indy Lights in 2012, eventually securing an IndyCar seat

with Dale Coyne Racing last season. While Matthew Brabham got a little

lost after securing titles in USF2000 and ProMazda, he is now set to make

his Indy debut in 2015. Gabby Chaves took full advantage of his bonus for

winning the 2014 Indy Lights championship and managed to secure a

season‐long ride with Herta Autosport. The most interesting prospects

coming from the Road To Indy program are currently Spencer Pigot, who

will be driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in selected 2016

IndyCar rounds after bringing home this season’s Indy Lights title, and

Santiago Urrutia, who is looking forward to bring Uruguay back to the top

of the American open‐wheel panorama and follow in the footsteps of the

late Gonzalo Rodriguez. After winning in Pro Mazda, he will be lining‐up

for the 2016 Indy Lights championship.