The Cooper Tires Presents the USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda 2012 event schedule was finally released today, the last of the three Mazda Road to Indy series to do so. There will be two more races this season bringing the total up from 12 to 14, but there will be same number of event weekends, seven, but the USF2000 teams, like me being a teacher in real life, will get the summer off. Currently, no races are schedule for either June or July.
“We can’t wait to showcase the USF2000 series and Mazda Road to Indy on multiple INDYCAR weekends in 2012. USF2000 is the place for career minded drivers to begin their journey to the IZOD IndyCar Series and, with the help of the Mazda Road to Indy, drivers have a clear path to the top of the sport. Dan Andersen and his staff have built USF2000 into a true destination series and we continue to see that with the announcement of new teams and drivers, along with the return of many familiar faces. In just two seasons, we’ve already seen many talented drivers race in USF2000 who exemplify the foundation and future of INDYCAR.” — Jason Penix, INDYCAR’s Manager of Grassroots Marketing
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2012 Cooper Tires Presents the USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda Schedule
|Sebring International Raceway
|Streets of St. Petersburg
|Lucas Oil Raceway
|Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
|Streets of Baltimore
As with last year, the USF2000 races will be in support of either the IZOD IndyCar Series, the American Le Mans Series, or both, and will begin at the Sebring International Raceway on the weekend of the FIA World Endurance Challenge 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race. The season-ending race has yet to be determined with neither a date nor a venue announced for now. IndyCar will be at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA on September 12-15, but it’s very doubtful that the USF2000 cars will run on the large 2.0-mile oval. It is possible that the USF2000 cars could run on the interior road circuit, a configuration that would not interfere with the oval or with the oval pits.
What is seeming more likely, though, is that the final event will be held in conjunction with ALMS, which also has a vacancy on its schedule for September. There’s been speculation about there being a new event at the Virginia International Raceway. The venue recently upgraded their kerbing to be compliant with FIA Grade 2 specs, and we could see the USF2000 and ALMS racing under the Oak Tree next September. This actually seems more plausible to me than the Fontana weekend with IndyCar and it would be on a circuit more agreeable to the F2000 and FE cars.
Before the regular season kicks off in March, many of the teams will be competing in the six-race Cooper Tires Winterfest Championship held the first two weekends in February at Sebring and PBIR. There will also be significant testing in May both at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and the annual Oval Clinic at IMS prior to testing at
IRP Lucas Oil Raceway. Although the June/July race schedule is barren, there is a test at Road America on the last weekend of June. I’m hopeful for a return of the Milwaukee event, which would add a much needed second oval to the schedule, but while I’m hopeful, I’m not confident. IndyCar is working to try and make a June 17th date work, but we’ll just have to wait and see.