MRTI adds new venues, will run with IndyCar
Seven venues on the 2016 Mazda Road to Indy schedule will feature all three rungs of the ladder system -- Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.
All races will be contested on the same weekend as Verizon IndyCar Series events with the exception of the season finale, which will take place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the second consecutive year. Phoenix International Raceway, Road America and the streets of Boston have been added to the Indy Lights schedule, while Pro Mazda and USF2000 have added Road America to their schedules.
All three series start the season March 12-13 in St. Petersburg, Fla., as part of the Verizon IndyCar Series' Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Competitors in all three levels again will compete for scholarship packages to advance to the next level. Spencer Pigot, the 2015 Indy Lights champion, recently announced a 2016 agreement to race in the Verizon IndyCar Series with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
“I am extremely pleased with the caliber of events we have on our 2016 schedule,” said Dan Andersen, owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions, which operates all three series. “We have a total of 50 races on deck for the three series across key markets in the United States as well as Canada. Finishing the season – and crowning all three champions – at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca finale this year proved to be a great ending and we are excited to return and close out the season again next year.
“We have a lot of exciting things in the works, including the unveiling of the new USF2000 car at Indianapolis in May, and we will be working hard to build on the tremendous season we had in 2015.”
On the heels of a successful debut of the Mazda-powered Dallara IL-15, Indy Lights will see an expanded schedule of 18 races next season with the addition of Phoenix International Raceway, Road America and the streets of Boston.
The blend of three ovals, three street circuits and five road course events will include doubleheader rounds at all street and road course venues with the exception of Boston. A new qualifying feature – the Cooper Tires Lightning Round – will be incorporated at select Indy Lights circuits. It will feature the top three drivers from qualifying in a one-lap shootout on a new, softer compound Cooper RS3 racing slick for the Cooper Tires Pole Award.
NBCSN will host one-hour broadcasts of all race events with live broadcasts on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius XM Satellite Radio, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR 16 app. ESPN International holds the international broadcast rights with races airing in Canada, Colombia, Mexico and Australia among other countries.
RoadToIndy.TV and the Mazda Road to Indy app will continue to feature behind-the-scenes content, race recap episodes, special features, live streaming at select events and live shows of Mazda Road to Indy on and off-track activities.