Dan Andersen’s influence is already being felt in the new Pro Mazda Championship as Cooper Tire replaces Goodyear as the official tire and presenting sponsor for the second step on the Mazda Road to Indy. Cooper Tire has been the official tire and presenting sponsor for the USF2000 National Championship since its return in 2010, and Andersen Promotions’ recent acquisition of the Star Mazda Championship has convinced the tire manufacturer to expand it’s involvement in INDYCAR’s Mazda Road to Indy development program.
Cooper Tire has been a strong partner for USF2000, and I think this is a natural fit for the new Pro Mazda series. Don’t be too surprised if you see Cooper replace Firestone as the official tire of Indy Lights when the Firestone contract runs out at the end of 2014. They’re not a newcomer to motorsports, as some may think. They’ve been involved not only in USF2000, but also in the IMSA Prototype Lights series and in the Formula D drift racing series. This will be a good fit for the new series, and it could be a sign of other changes to come for the Pro Mazda Championship. Tomorrow, I’ll have an article looking at the potential future shape of the series based on what we’ve seen work so well in USF2000.
Official Press Release from Andersen Promotions
Pro Mazda Championship Announces Partnership with Cooper Tires
Leading Manufacturer Becomes Official Tire and Presenting Sponsor
PALMETTO, Fla. (December 13) – Andersen Promotions, owner and administrator of the Pro Mazda Championship, today confirmed a key component of the series’ infrastructure by welcoming Cooper Tires as the Official Tire and presenting sponsor. The Mazda Road to Indy series will now be known as the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires with a three-year agreement in place.
The newly formed series was officially announced on December 7 to fill the opening vacated by the Star Mazda Championship. The Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires represents the second step on the driver development ladder system established in 2010 and sanctioned by INDYCAR with drivers transitioning from the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda to Pro Mazda, Firestone Indy Lights and, ultimately, the IZOD IndyCar Series.
“The Pro Mazda Championship is off to a great start with Cooper Tires joining this new effort as our tire partner and presenting sponsor,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “Cooper has provided excellent tires and service to our USF2000 Championship and they are a fantastic partner. I know our teams will benefit from this change, and we thank Cooper for now supporting the first two steps on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder.”
Andersen Promotions recently announced a partnership extension between Cooper Tires and USF2000 through 2015. The Findlay, Ohio-based manufacturer alongside Mazda will now form the foundation for two key steps on the ladder system.
“As Cooper Tires begins our new venture with Andersen Promotions, we have enthusiastically stepped up the Mazda ladder system to become ‘The Official Tire of the Pro Mazda Championship,’” said Chris Pantani, Director of Motorsports for Cooper Tires. “Drivers and teams graduating from the USF2000 Championship will once again be joined with Mazda and Cooper Tires in their next step towards the IZOD IndyCar Series.”
A schedule for the 2013 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires will be announced in the near future with a new website debuting in the coming weeks.