MARCH MADNESS – MAZDASPEED MOTORSPORTS STYLE

– 13 Races in Eight Series at Three Race Tracks in One Month –

(Irvine, Calif.) March Madness isn’t just a basketball term. Road-racers and road-racing fans are also excited each spring as the racing season makes a rolling start over the course of a few short weeks. For Mazda, this March meant 13 races in eight different series at three unique racetracks. Add in a few media events and IndyCar spring training, and you have a very mad schedule indeed for the MAZDASPEED team. The saving grace was that all of the races took place in the spring break wonderland of Florida and all enjoyed postcard quality weather.

Mazda kicked off the month by hosting their fifth-annual pre-season media gathering near their corporate headquarters in Irvine, California on March 1st. Mazda North American Operations, Senior Vice President, Robert Davis presented a look back at 2010 as well as a look forward to 2011. Among the key messages Davis noted were:

• Mazda remains the most road-raced brand in America. Mazda racecars outnumber the combined efforts of Toyota, Honda, and Nissan.
• Mazda has sold over $75,000,000 in motorsports parts since 1991.
• Mazda has directly supported 20 drivers who have won a total of 26 awards as a part of
the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder, launched in 2006.
• The fact that Spec Miata is the largest spec class in the world should be no surprise
given that the MX-5 Miata is the best selling roadster in history, having recently passed
the 900,000 mark.
• Mazda is proud to expand the MAZDASPEED ladder via a partnership with INDYCAR to
create the Mazda Road to Indy.
• Mazda welcomed a new team – C.J. Wilson Racing, co-owner by Texas Rangers pitcher
C.J. Wilson. Wilson already has a significant win, having co-driven to a class win at the 2010 NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill in a Miata.
• To further develop opportunities on a grassroots level of affordable showroom stock racing, Mazda is cooperating with rival Honda to develop “B-Spec” for B-segment cars like the Mazda2 and Honda Fit. Other automakers with an interest in selling cars and parts are invited to join the discussion.

The bakers dozen of March races were as follows:

Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear (Star)
After participating in the pre-season IZOD IndyCar Spring training at Barber Motorsports Park the teams kicked off the season in St. Petersburg, Florida. 2010 Star Mazda Rookie-of-the-Year Connor DePhillippi scored his second win in a row – having won the 2010 season finale – to take the early points lead.

Cooper Tires USF2000 National Championship Powered By Mazda (USF2000)
The USF2000 Championship had more races in March than anyone else — four, holding double-headers at both Sebring and St. Petersburg. The competition has been extremely close with four different winners – Zach Veach, Luke Ellery, Spencer Pigot, and Petri Suvanto each winning a round.

BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda (SBN)
The Skip Barber Racing School has a global reputation for developing driver talent. Skip Barber alumni can be found in virtually every professional series you can name. The 2011 opening round wins at Sebring were scored by Thomas McGregor and Brandon Newey.

SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup (MX-5 Cup)
The fifth season of MX-5 Cup competition kicked off a few miles south of Miami in Homestead, Florida. Michael Cooper started his season with a close win over Jeff Mosing, and Dean Copeland.

American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón (ALMS)
The ALMS season started off with the 59th Mobil-1 12 Hours of Sebring. Off-season rules changes meant that the Mazda MZR-R-powered ModSpace/Construct Corps/G-Oil Dyson-Lola would be competing in the revised LMP1 class. The Dyson-Mazda ran trouble-free and finished sixth overall, and second among cars expected to contest the entire ALMS season.

GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 (Grand-Am)
The March race weekend at Miami Homestead Speedway was round number two for the Grand-Am racers. Homestead was a 2.75 hour race and resulted in a second place GT finish for the SpeedSource FXDD Mazda RX-8 team of Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato. Segal and Assentato are the defending GT series champions.

GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (CTSCC)
After coming up just .022 seconds short of winning the Street Touring (ST) class in Homestead, the i-Moto MAZDASPEED3 team of brothers Mark and Mathew Pombo ended up with the most race points when the winning car was penalized for a technical violation. Mazda is third in CTSCC-ST manufacturers points after two races.

Pirelli World Challenge Championships (World Challenge)
A St. Pete doubleheader kicked off the season for three RX-8 single-car teams competing in the touring car (TC) class. TC competitors included VW, Honda, and Volvo. The first race was very physical with two of the three RX-8’s being taken out in accidents. Charlie Soloman was the highest placed Mazda in both races taking a sixth and an 11th place finish.

The United Nations of MAZDASPEED – Class of 2011

Based upon the initial races of the season, over a dozen countries will be represented in the four Mazda spec series in 2011. In addition to top up-and-coming American talent, racers from Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Venezuela, Chile, Columbia, Finland, Estonia, France, Ireland, Australia, and India will be competing to move up the motorsports ladder with Mazda. It should be noted that 50% of the Firestone Indy Lights field and 20% of the IZOD Indycar field has raced with Mazda in past years.

Mazda Road to Indy Business:

Over the past five years, Mazda has spent considerable time and effort helping racers understand the business side of the sport in order to develop their own sustainable off-track success. At the IZOD IndyCar season opener in St. Petersburg, The MAZDASPEED team presented their Business/Marketing/PR 101 for Racers talk to the competitors in Indy Lights, Star Mazda, and USF2000. Mazda has provided this presentation, free-of-charge, to all racers at the annual off-season Performance Racing Industry trade show for the past three years.

What’s Next:

Grand-Am, CTSCC, and Star Mazda @ Barber Motorspots Park, April 7-9

Formula D season opener @ Streets of Long Beach, April 8-9

ALMS and World Challenge @ the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 15-17

MX-5 Cup at the Speedfest Classic at the Mitty, Road Atlanta, April 28-30

SBN @ Virginia International Raceway, April 29-May 1

World Challenge @ Miller Motorsports Park, Toele, Utah, April 29-May 1

Star Mazda and USF2000 @ Lucas Oil Raceway, Indianapolis, May 28

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