The Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear announced their 2012 Race Schedule this morning. Well, most of it anyway. The a June event and the final event in October are still TBA, but we have the rest of the ten-event schedule. One big difference from last season is that many of the weekends will involve double-header races. So although there are only ten race weekends, there will be between 16-18 actual races. This has the potential of making for a far more challenging and interesting championship.
As with previous seasons, there will be a mix of road, street, and oval circuits, continuing to make the Mazda Road to Indy ladder program one of the most challenging in the world as young drivers are forced to hone their racecraft on a great diversity of circuits. The series will again spend a lot of time with the IZOD IndyCar Series and the Firestone Indy Lights series, which I see as a very positive thing. It allows both the fans and the team owners to get a good look at the future of Indy car racing.
“2012 will be the third year of the Mazda Road to Indy and the program is really taking hold among our teams, drivers and race promoters. This has allowed us to tailor the schedule to more closely align with the IZOD IndyCar Series and introduce our fans to the next generation of IndyCar drivers. This is what the program was designed to do, and with these rising stars sharing the stage at our biggest races, the future of IndyCar racing looks brighter every year.” — Tony George, Jr.
When looking at the schedule, there are a couple of things that stand out to me, in addition to the continued diversity of the circuits: a return to Trois-Rivières with the Indy Lights as the headliner, and a inaugural event at Edmonton. There were mixed feelings about the GP3R last year amongst the Indy Lights folk, mainly over cost, and the same is true for the Edmonton race, but from a fan and driver perspective, both events were enormous successes.
As for the two TBAs, the June event seems to line up well with the Iowa Speedway event which offered a great knife-fight of a battle between Sage Karam and Martin Scuncio last year. The October event very well could be Star Mazda’s return to Road Atlanta for the Petit LeMans weekend. They have been a part of that weekend before, and I was a bit disappointed last year that they weren’t.
2012 Schedule for the Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear
|March 19-20||Barber Spring Training||Road Course||Star Mazda|
|March 24-25||Grand Prix of St. Petersburg *||Street Circuit||IndyCar|
|March 31-April 1||Barber Motorsports Park *||Road Course||IndyCar|
|May 25-26||Night Before the 500||Oval||USAC|
|July 7-8||Grand Prix of Toronto *||Street Circuit||IndyCar|
|July 21-22||Grand Prix of Edmonton *||Airport Circuit||IndyCar|
|August 3-5||GP3R Trois-Rivières *||Street Circuit||Indy Lights|
|September 1-2||Grand Prix of Baltimore *||Street Circuit||IndyCar|
|September 8-9||Mazda Raceway *||Road Course||Grand-Am|
* Two Star Mazda Championship races per weekend