Toronto, Ont., Canada – Matthew Brabham showed no mercy to his rivals in this morning’s Allied Building Products Grand Prix of Toronto, the seventh round of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires.
The runaway championship leader made his usual exemplary start from the pole in the #83 MAZDASPEED/Team Andretti Autosport entry and never looked back en route to his sixth successive victory.
Brabham, 19, from Boca Raton, Fla., opened up a gap of four seconds over his nearest challenger, Juan Piedrahita, by Lap 5, then was content to cruise for the majority of the 25-lap, 30-minute race on the challenging 1.755-mile street circuit. Last year’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda champion and grandson of three-time Formula One World Champion Sir Jack Brabham put the hammer down again just before the half-distance mark, securing an additional championship point for posting the fastest lap of the race at 1:09.636 (faster than anyone else qualified), and eventually took the checkered flag a comfortable 12.445 seconds clear of the field.
Piedrahita, from Bogota, Colombia, held second place for the opening half of the race but was struggling with a tire that was gradually losing air and soon came under pressure from Venezuelan Diego Ferreira who had made a fine start to jump immediately from fifth to third. Ferreira (Juncos Racing) made the pass for second on Lap 13 to secure his fifth podium finish of the season.
Piedrahita (JDC MotorSports) slipped to fourth behind charging Brazilian Nicolas Costa but failed to reach the finish when his tire finally let go with just two laps remaining. Costa, who had started third but fell back to seventh at the start, fought through impressively to claim third on his Pro Mazda debut with Team Pelfrey.
Teammate Spencer Pigot was running a close fourth when he clipped the wall in Turn Four on Lap 2, forcing him into a lengthy pit stop for repairs. Shelby Blackstock (Andretti Autosport) lost control and spun in Turn Five while running in fourth place on Lap 6, while another incident on the first lap also cost Juncos Racing’s Scott Anderson a shot at the podium. The Colorado driver lost several laps while his crew repaired the damage, after which he returned and served notice of his pace by posting the second fastest lap of the race.
California-based Welshman Lloyd Read (JDC MotorSports) secured his best finish of the season, fourth, after a lengthy battle with teenaged Californian Kyle Kaiser (World Speed Motorsports), who made a spectacular start to jump from 10th to fourth but soon slipped back into the pack.
Contingency awards included the Quarter Master Hard Charger Award which went to Read for his gain of five positions, the Staubli Award to Costa and the PFC Award to the winning team of Andretti Autosport.
Race 2 of the Allied Building Products Grand Prix of Toronto will take place at 9:55 am tomorrow.
Matthew Brabham, #83 MAZDASPEED/Team Andretti Autosport (Andretti Autosport) – First: “It was a close race at the start. Juan [Piedrahita] was really quick at the start and Diego [Ferreira] was right behind him. They were able to get quite close in the tow and down the back straight on the first lap. But once I just managed to start pulling away and break the tow a little bit, then it was a matter of getting through the back markers and making sure I kept it off all the walls and kept my focus. It was a long race for me out there in front. I can’t thank the guys at Andretti enough. They have been predicting the track and have been basically spot on the whole weekend so hopefully we will do the same tomorrow. I am just over the moon at the moment.”
Diego Ferreira, #57 Team Viso Venezuela/Mindeporte (Juncos Racing) – Second: “It was a really great race and I am happy to be back on the street courses. We didn’t have a great qualifying but I did my best and went from fifth to third at the start and had a great battle with [Juan] Piedrahita. I am happy to have gone from fifth to second and to be back on the podium.”
Nicolas Costa, #82 Pelfrey Performance/GetGapGuard.com/Alufama/Inova Mkt. (Team Pelfrey) – Third: “In the practices, we were struggling a bit with the car and with myself because I had to learn the track which was new for me because I never raced a street race course before. It was all new to me but in qualifying we managed to get a pretty good setup and I turned some quite fast laps to start third. My start was pretty bad. I got passed everywhere and I think ended up like seventh or eighth. The car was really good and I managed to fight back. It was amazing to be able to fight back and make it up to the podium.”
Walt Bowlin, #23 Tampa Bay Jaw Surgery/Jet Concepts/Foremost Insurance (M1 Racing) – 1st Expert Class: “The key was to keep it off the wall. Turn One is slick and the last three turns also are a little tough, so keeping it on line was difficult. I spun a couple of times in Turn One and got back on but I think everyone had trouble today. I came and raced here last year and was maybe two to three seconds faster so I am getting the hang of it and if I could get within two second of these guys, I’d be happy.”
About Allied Building Products Corp.: Allied Building Products Corp. is a wholesale distributor of exterior and interior building materials with $1.7 billion in annual revenues. Allied services professional contractors in 33 states with residential and commercial roofing, waterproofing, siding, windows, drywall, acoustical, metal framing and solar products along with all related accessories. Allied is a division of Oldcastle, Inc., the North American holding company for CRH plc (NYSE: CRH). For more information about Allied Building Products, visit www.alliedbuilding.com.
About Pro Mazda: The Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires debuted in 2013 as a new series, replacing the Star Mazda Championship which ceased operation in 2012 after 22 years. The series is sanctioned by INDYCAR and owned and operated by Andersen Promotions. It is the second official step on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system with the series’ champion awarded a scholarship package from Mazda to advance to Firestone Indy Lights competition the following year. For more information, visit www.promazdachampionship.com.
About Mazda: Mazda is the number-one brand for road-racers across North America. Thousands of Mazda powered grassroots racers compete in various classes with the SCCA and NASA highlighted by Spec Miata, the world’s largest spec class with over 2,500 cars built. In 2006 Mazda established the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder to assist racers in moving up through the ranks. In 2010 this was expanded to include the Mazda Road to Indy. Key to Mazda’s success is strategic partnerships with the Skip Barber Racing School and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
MAZDASPEED Motorsports is managed by Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). MNAO is headquartered in Irvine, Calif. and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States, Canada and Mexico through nearly 900 dealers. Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada, Inc., located in Ontario; and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City. Consumer information can be found at www.mazdausa.com with press information at www.mazdausamedia.com. Racers and fans can follow the action on Facebook (Mazdaspeed Motorsports).
About Cooper Tire & Rubber Company: Cooper Tire & Rubber Company (NYSE: CTB) is a global company with affiliates, subsidiaries and joint ventures that specialize in the design, manufacture, marketing and sales of passenger car and light truck tires. The company also has subsidiaries that specialize in medium truck, motorcycle and racing tires. With headquarters in Findlay, Ohio, Cooper Tire has manufacturing, sales, distribution, technical and design facilities within its family of companies located in 11 countries around the world. Additional information can be found at www.us.coopertire.com.
Contact: Tamy Valkosky, Public Relations
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