The way into the Mazda Road to Indy program was broadened this week by Juncos Racing team principal Ricardo Juncos. In a recent trip to Chile, he was able to secure a deal that will give the Chilean Formula 3 champion the opportunity to come to the US, fully supported, and race for Juncos Racing in the Mazda Road to Indy program. As of now, Juncos Racing participates in the Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear and the Firestone Indy Lights series, and presumably the incoming driver would be placed in a Star Mazda seat, but I don’t think that’s a certainty.
“I am so happy and honored that I could make this trip to Chile, my first visit, and make such a huge agreement among Juncos Racing, the Chilean Federation of Motor Racing, and the Chilean Formula 3 Association. With this partnership, the country of Chile is planning on expanding its support into its whole motorsports program in the near future. The country is revising its karting program to have all the proper classes, sponsoring two tourism classes, and of course, the famous Chilean Formula 3 series. Each year’s Formula 3 champion will then have full support to join our Mazda Road to Indy program.
“I have to say a big ‘thank you’ for the positive reception I got from everyone in Chile. They trust in our motorsports ladder system here in the U.S.A. as much as I do, and I really think that’s a big deal for us and the whole Mazda Road to Indy program. Hopefully, it will inspire other Hispanic countries to follow in the same direction and officially make the Mazda Road to Indy ladder the best driver development program in the world.” — Ricardo Juncos, Team Principal of Juncos Racing
The Chilean Formula Three Championship has a bit of a misleading title in that they don’t actually use the 2000cc-powered monocoque chassis that are used in the FIA Formula 3 class. The cars are tube-frame chassis motivated by a 1600cc Nissan engine. It would seem that a move up to USF2000 would be a natural progression, although, a step to Star Mazda wouldn’t be too difficult to manage for the right type of driver.
A move to fielding a USF2000 team would seem to be the next logical step for Juncos Racing. With an already very successful Star Mazda Championship program, a new two-car Firestone Indy Lights program, and now a scholarship program/partnership with the Chilean Formula Three Championship, skipping a rung in the Mazda Road to Indy ladder doesn’t seem right. Perhaps later in the year we will hear more about this. Its great to see teams involved not only in the individual series that make up the Mazda Road to Indy, but in the program itself, and working to create opportunities for talented drivers to advance to the higher levels of open-wheel racing.
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This isn’t the first time there’s been a connection between Chilean F3 and Juncos Racing. Martin Scuncio who raced with Juncos last season. With this deal complete, Juncos Racing is now moving toward announcing the their 2012 driver line-ups in Star Mazda and Firestone Indy Lights.