The Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear will return to the O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis to again be part of the Night Before the 500 event. This time, the series will appear as an official part of the Road to Indy program along side the US F2000 National Championship presented by Cooper Tires and powered by Mazda. The USAC Midgets will also appear, but expect the fastest times to come from the Star Mazda cars. Already in testing last week, Conor Daly was a full two-tenths faster than the midget track record and with 100hp less than the midgets! It should be a fun night of open-wheel racing. Be sure to come out and say hi as all of the Openpaddock crew will be there in attendance.
The Origins and a Brief History of Star Mazda
Formula Mazda can be found at many levels of amateur and professional racing. The SCCA and NASA both have Formula Mazda classes and all are a blast to watch. Many variants of the original Formula Mazda spec designed for the Jim Russell Racing Driver’s School, then called Formula Russell, have evolved over the years. One of the latest iterations is the Formula Enterprise, a class created by the SCCA in 2008 using Mazda power that with the same chassis but different body work is capable of competing as an open-wheel car or a sport racer. Brilliant idea, really, allowing teams to compete in one or the other classes or both with the same low-cost chassis.
The Star Mazda Championship as we know it now, got its official start in 1991 as a series of regional events. It wasn’t until 1999 that a unified national championship was created. Since then, the Star Mazda Championship has provided some of the best open-wheel racing to be found anywhere! Best of all for us fans of IndyCar racing, the Star Mazda Championship has always been contested on a mix of oval and road courses. If I were to continue on with the history and background of this fantastic series, I realize that all I’d be doing is reiterating, bordering on plagerizing, Ryan’s excellent work over at Junior Open Wheel Talent. Openpaddock highly recommends JOWT where you can find a whole set of primer articles on the various junior open-wheel series including Star Mazda and US F2000.
Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at the opening rounds of the Star Mazda Championship on the Streets of St. Petersburg, preview the coming races in May, and highlight some drivers that we think are real stand-out, elbows-up racers.