Mazda is not a stranger to open-wheeled series. Mazda Rotary engines have been powering Formula Mazdas for years. Mazda now powers the Atlantic Championship cars with it's 2.3 liter MZR engine. Another version of this engine is also found in the new Skip Barber formula cars. Mazda is also a major sponsor of various karting organizations, for a complete open-wheeled ladder.
The Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear enters its 18th year in 2008 as one of the most prolific, successful and richest open-wheel driver development series in North America. The Star Mazda Championship is a major step on the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder that reaches all the way from karting to Champ Car. Many of today’s top drivers are Star Mazda graduates, including Champ Car star Graham Rahal, IRL standout Marco Andretti and hot NASCAR newcomer Michael McDowell.
Star Mazda Championship racers are high-tech open-wheel cars with a carbon fiber chassis, fully-adjustable suspension and 6-speed sequential gearbox. The engine is Mazda’s legendary ‘Renesis’ rotary, race-tuned to produce 250 horsepower, speeds of over 160 mph and 0 to 60 mph acceleration of 2.8 seconds. This engine is so reliable that it can last an entire racing season without a re-build, reducing the cost of racing in Star Mazda to a fraction of the budget required to compete in any comparable open wheel series in the U.S. or Europe.
The ‘single-spec’ engineering of Star Mazda Championship race cars showcases driving talent instead of big budgets and unrestricted testing promotes rapid development of a driver’s skills. Expert (30 to 44 years old) and Master (45 and older) categories provide competition for more mature drivers.
The 45-minute races feature standing starts, fields of 30+ cars and are held on Champ Car, Grand-Am and American Le Mans Series weekends. Driver development is enhanced by race venues that include natural-terrain road courses, urban street circuits and airport tracks.
All races are broadcast in a 1-hour show on the SPEED Channel. Prize money approaches $1.5 million, including a Mazda-sponsored drive for the Star Mazda series champion in the next step up the motorsports ladder, the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda.
First organized in 1999 as a one-off championship race for the “best of the best” from Skip Barber’s four Regional Series, a race won by Champ Car veteran and Rolex Sports Car Series driver Ryan Hunter-Reay, today the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda is a 14-race professional series positioned as a primary steppingstone for young pro drivers whose next step is Star Mazda, then Atlantics Powered by Mazda. This Mazda-driven ladder system is called MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development.
All the cars are identically prepared Skip Barber Formula 2000 open-wheel “wings-and-slicks” formula cars. The Skip Barber Formula 2000 is powered by a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder engine, prepped to produce 150 horsepower. The chassis is a space-frame design and uses a Ricardo Engineering 5-speed sequential gearbox, and features a single-element front wing with a raised nose-box and a dual element rear wing. The tires are BFGoodrich g-Force racing slicks and wets
The fleet of racecars used in the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda are owned, prepared, repaired, maintained and transported by Skip Barber. Each Skip Barber F2000 is equalized through pre-race testing by professional test-drivers using timing and radar, with the objective that every car arrives on the grid within 1 mph of top-speed and 0.5 percent of lap time. Each race weekend, each National driver is randomly assigned one of the 30 Skip Barber F2000 race cars.
The BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda is the series that launched the auto racing careers of NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers A.J. Allmendinger and Scott Speed, IRL IndyCar winner and Indy 500 Rookie of the Year Marco Andretti, and dozens of other drivers succeeding in about every level of major motorsports in North America and the world. Prior to the National, Skip Barber’s system was the career-starter for drivers including Juan Pablo Montoya, Jeff Simmons, Bryan Herta and Nelson Philippe.
The MOLECULE Formula Mazda Challenge (MFMC) is a regional Star Mazda Championship sanctioned by NASA.
The MFMC schedules are a great mix of spectator and club level events that are designed to minimize travel costs while still providing great exposure.
There are three Formula Mazda Challenge Series based on geographic regions.
The MFMC has three classes:
PFM: Drivers in this championship compete in the state-of-the-art Pro Formula Mazda chassis powered by the RX8 Renesis engine
FM: Drivers compete in the 13B rotary powered Standard Formula Mazda
FE: Drivers compete in the Formula SCCA Van Diemen powered by the Mazda MZR engine.
To learn more about the series visit:
Mazda has signed partnership agreements with multiple sanctioning bodies and events, and will be highly involved with the following:
Mazda’s support will consist of both traditional sponsorship funding towards prize money and operating costs, as well as unique benefits such as business-partner pricing on new Mazda vehicles for kart racers who belong to those organizations.