Inaugural Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy Test Scheduled at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
 October 6, 2011| 
  • Series News

For the first time, the three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system will come together for a test session hosted by INDYCAR at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Drivers from the Cooper Tires Presents the USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda, the Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear and Firestone Indy Lights will have the opportunity for a head start on their 2012 racing seasons during the two-day outing to be held October 28 and 29.


The Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy Open Test is dedicated to the memory of Chris Griffis, team manager for Sam Schmidt Motorsports’ Firestone Indy Lights program and a longtime member of the open wheel community, who died unexpectedly on September 12.


“We are delighted that INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway are providing this fantastic opportunity for all Mazda Road to Indy drivers,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions, the series promoter. “It will be a special test in memory of Chris, and will offer an opportunity to drive on the Formula One circuit amongst the best drivers on the road to an IZOD IndyCar Series career. It is gratifying to me that INDYCAR continues to show its intentions are so positive toward their advancing drivers and their support is very much appreciated.”


Testing will take place from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm ET both days with each series receiving a 60-minute session in the morning and a 75-minute session in the afternoon. Staffing will be provided by INDYCAR and the Speedway with live Timing and Scoring courtesy of Star Mazda.


INDYCAR and Mazda’s strong support of the ladder series extends beyond the race track with an expansion of the highly successful Mazda Road to Indy Summit program this year which offered media, social media and business/sponsorship training amongst other topics as well as networking and promotional opportunities to its drivers. In addition, the first Mazda Road to Indy Oval Clinic was held in May.


Looking towards the next generation of talent, the inaugural Mazda Road to Indy Scouting Combine will bring together 12 drivers representing the top talent from karting and USAC in November at Andersen RacePark in Palmetto, Fla. The three days of training, testing and observation by an expert panel of officials, team owners and INDYCAR drivers beginning on the 28th will offer these up-and-comers the opportunity to compete for a chance to race in the 2012 USF2000 Series.


“This test is a fantastic opportunity to showcase what the Mazda Road to Indy has to offer to prospective drivers and teams,” said Tony George Jr., manager of business development for the Firestone Indy Lights and a key figure in the creation of the Mazda Road to Indy. “The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the perfect location for all three series to start preparations for the 2012 season.”


Additional information and a USF2000 entry form will be available at for interested teams and drivers.


The Cooper Tires Presents the USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda is the first official step on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system with the top driver in the Championship class earning a scholarship package from Mazda to advance to Star Mazda competition. The series is also part of the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder which assists young drivers in advancing from the Skip Barber Racing School to USF2000.


All levels of the Mazda Road to Indy have crowned their 2011 champions. Petri Suvanto of Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing captured the USF2000 title, JDC MotorSports’ Tristan Vautier claimed Star Mazda honors and Josef Newgarden of Sam Schmidt Motorsports locked down the Firestone Indy Lights championship at Kentucky last weekend.


The 2012 USF2000 race schedule will be announced in the coming weeks.

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