The historic and extremely popular 11-turn, 1.52-mile street circuit event held in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, invites precision from drivers as they maneuver around the concrete-lined course at Terrain de L'Exposition (fairgrounds) – especially at Porte Duplessis, a narrow concrete gateway in Turn 3.
Pro Mazda will close out its 16-race 2013 season on street circuits, with a double-header weekend in support of INDYCAR at Houston on October 5/6 following the Trois-Rivières rounds.
Brabham Shattering the Record Books:
Andretti Autosport's Matthew Brabham has been setting the record books on fire in his rookie season of Pro Mazda competition. The 19-year-old reigning Cooper Tires USF2000 Powered by Mazda champion now holds the record for the most consecutive wins in a season at seven, and most wins in a season at nine – breaking the record set by 2012 champ Jack Hawksworth. The MAZDASPEED driver from Boca Raton, Fla., who has made 11 podium visits to date, is also fast approaching the record for most podiums in a season at 12, which is held by Hawksworth and 2010 champion Conor Daly, and fastest race laps. Brabham is currently at nine with Hawksworth setting the record with 11.
Will Experience Prevail at Trois-Rivières?
In a race weekend featuring limited track time with 13 races over the course of three days, three drivers may benefit from a return visit to Trois-Rivières – Diego Ferreira of Juncos Racing, and teammates Zack Meyer and Juan Piedrahita of JDC MotorSports.
Ferreira, 19, has been the only driver to turn up the heat on Brabham's domination this season. With a win and eight additional podiums thus far, the Venezuelan talent has clearly left his mark but exited Trois Rivières last year with a rare pair of DNF's – his only DNF's in 29 races to date since the start of his 2012 Pro Mazda campaign.
Ditto for Meyer on the DNF front. The 21-year-old from Toronto left Trois-Rivières empty handed in both rounds last year. With 10 top-10 finishes in 12 rounds this season, Meyer is embroiled in a tight points battle that could see him break into the top five in the standings if he can add to his tally this weekend.
Colombian Piedrahita was the only driver to see the checkered flags last year. The 21-year-old finished ninth and 11th in the two races, and that should be a confidence booster for the two-time podium finisher this season.
Team-wise over the past three years, JDC MotorSports leads with three wins at Trois-Rivières followed by Team Pelfrey and Andretti Autosport with one apiece.
While Brabham hasn't raced at Trois-Rivières, his father Geoff – a Le Mans 24 Hours winner and two-time IMSA champion – competed at the circuit in the early '80s in the Can-Am Series.
By the Numbers:
Brabham currently holds a 65-point advantage over Ferreira in the standings, 336 to 271. With a win and six additional podiums, Andretti Autosport's Shelby Blackstock has quickly made up some ground and now lies only 24 points in arrears of Ferreira in third at 247. Team Pelfrey's Spencer Pigot, also a recent race winner with three additional podiums to his credit, is fourth with 221 points.
Scott Anderson of Juncos Racing rounds out the top five at 178 points, but has a trio of drivers at his heels gunning for the top-five including 17-year-old talent Kyle Kaiser of World Speed Motorsports (171), Meyer (165) and Lloyd Read (152).
Julia Ballario of Marco Juarez, Argentina, will be making her second appearance with Juncos Racing after a fine debut at Mid-Ohio last weekend which included a ninth-place finish... Expert Class drivers competing this weekend include Bobby Eberle of World Speed Motorsports – a race winner at Mid-Ohio – and Jay Horak of M1 Racing.
Follow the Action:
Pro Mazda drivers will take to the track for the first time on Friday with a 50-minute practice session at 1:20 pm ET followed by qualifying at 5:30 pm. The green flag will fly for Race 1 on Saturday at 1:00 pm and at 9:00 am on Sunday. Live timing and scoring with commentary is available via the series website at www.promazdachampionship.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