Julia Ballario Pro Mazda Championship

Competing as Argentina’s first female driver to race in the United States, twenty-one-year-old Julia Ballario makes her debut this year in the 2014 Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires. In addition to paving the road for other Argentinian female drivers, Ballario also makes another “first” in becoming Juncos Racing’s first Argentinian driver.

Ballario first tested with Juncos Racing in the fall of 2012, where she participated in the Second Annual Chris Griffiths Memorial Mazda Road to Indy Open Test held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. During the two-day test, she proved her ability to learn the open-wheel car, she continued to log quicker lap times, and she placed 8th quick overall among fellow drivers. The following year, Ballario joined Juncos Racing again in the official series test held at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in May.

Ballario’s racing career took off in the early 2000s, where she competed in numerous karting races throughout South America. Down the road, she competed in the 2006 Argentine Championship in Santiago del Estero, earning podium finishes in both Provincial and Federal Championships. The year 2007 marked her switch to Formula Renault Plus racing, where she gained recognition as Best Woman Driver in Federados Amateur Class. Throughout the next several years, Ballario continued to compete in Formula Renault Plus. After continued success on the track, two top 5- and four top 6-finishes rounded out her 2012 season in the TC 2000. Ballario made her name known throughout South American racing.

“I’m very happy to have Julia committed for the full season in Pro Mazda,” mentioned team owner Ricardo Juncos. “She completed two races with us last season. Undeterred by insufficient time to practice beforehand, she managed to leave us with a strong impression of her capabilities on the track.” Alluding to her natural ability, Juncos added, “I foresee Julia showing persistent growth as the season progresses.”

Fellow Argentinian Ricardo Juncos also pointed out, “She will become the first ever woman from Argentina to race in the USA, and she is the first Argentinean driver on our team. I’m looking forward to working with her this season.”

The team kicks off the 2014 Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires at the end of March in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Source: Juncos Racing
Photo: Claudio Novoa

Pipo Derani

Brazilian racer Luis Felipe “Pipo” Derani will join Team Pelfrey for the 2014 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires.

Derani, 20, began his racing career in karts, winning the prestigious Paulista Junior championship in 2005. He made the switch to cars in 2009, and since then has been based in Europe, competing in Formula Renault, British Formula 3 and the European Formula 3 series.

He said he chose Pro Mazda to help him reach his goals of competing in the IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500 in 2016.

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jmmuggianu/ – CC
Source: IndyCar

November 22, 2013 Pro Mazda Championship

pro mazda series 2013

Big, big news!!  The newly-formed Pro Mazda Championship, the second step on the Mazda Road to Indy – today announced its 2013 schedule which will feature 16 races at nine high-profile events. Drivers will have the opportunity to continue to hone their skills at three road course, four street circuit and two oval tracks, with five rounds held in conjunction with INDYCAR.

“Since we announced the new series in December, we have obviously been scrambling in a number of areas,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions, the series promoter. “I have to thank all of the track promoters for acting so quickly to allow us to finalize and announce our schedule. I am excited about our events for 2013. It is a good mix which will benefit our drivers as they continue up the ranks, and returning drivers and USF2000 graduates will both be exposed to new venues. In addition, the Mazda Road to Indy Summit program will continue to provide invaluable training to drivers in areas outside of the race car as well as race craft.”

Pro Mazda will make its debut at the Circuit of the Americas with a pair of races in support of GRAND-AM on March 1/2. The 3.4-mile road course and world-class facility located in Austin, Texas, received accolades from competitors and fans after holding its first Formula 1 Grand Prix in November.

The Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires season will conclude with two street course races at Reliant Park in Houston, Texas, in support of INDYCAR. The event will also be the site of the series’ season-ending awards banquet where the champion will be presented with a scholarship package from Mazda to advance to Firestone Indy Lights competition in 2014.

Nine test days are on offer prior to the start of the season in addition to private team testing, and competitors will have the opportunity to participate in three test days at the Circuit of the Americas before the season-opening race. Additional testing sessions will be held during the season at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lucas Oil Raceway, The Milwaukee Mile and Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. The annual Oval Clinic – a seminar on the intricacies of oval racing – will be held on May 10 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Mazda Road to Indy Summit program will take place during the St. Petersburg and Lucas Oil Raceway events. Activities include Mazda’s Business of Motorsports seminar, formal media training, a social media and marketing class, fitness and wellness training, team owner meet-and-greets and shop tours. Competitors also will have the opportunity to participate in events around the Indianapolis 500 and the winner of the “Night Before the 500” will pace the Freedom 100 Firestone Indy Lights race at the famed Brickyard and be introduced before the start of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”


2013 Schedule


March 1/2 – Races 1/2
Circuit of the Americas
Road Course With GRAND-AM

March 23/24 – Races 3/4
Streets of St. Petersburg
Street Circuit With INDYCAR

May 25  – Race 5
Lucas Oil Raceway Oval  With USAC

June 15 – Race 6
The Milwaukee Mile Oval With INDYCAR

July 13/14 –  Races 7/8
Streets of Toronto Street Circuit With INDYCAR

July 20/21 –  Races 9/10
Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (Mosport)
Road Course With ALMS

August 3/4 –  Races 11/12
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Road Course With INDYCAR

August 10/11 – Races 13/14
Circuit Trois-Rivieres
Street Circuit With NASCAR Canada

October 5/6 –  Races 15/16
Reliant Park Houston
Street Circuit With INDYCAR

Test Sessions
February 9/10 – Official Series Test
Palm Beach International Raceway

February 11/12 – Optional Series Test
Sebring International Raceway

February 23/24 – Official Series Test
Circuit of the Americas

February 28 – Optional Promoter Test Day
Circuit of the Americas

May 9  – Official Series Test
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

May 10 – Oval Clinic
Indianapolis Motor Speedway

May 11 – Official Series Test
Lucas Oil Raceway

May 12 – Rain Date
Lucas Oil Raceway

May 24 – Optional Promoter Test Day
Lucas Oil Raceway

May 29 – Official Series Test Day
The Milwaukee Mile

May 30 – Rain Date
The Milwaukee Mile

July 18 – Optional Promoter Test Day
Canadian Tire Motorsports Park

August 1 – Optional Promoter Test Day
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course


Photo: Juncos Racing

Juncos Racing Pro Mazda Championship Road To Indy

Big news for the Mazda Road To Indy. We have a plan for a ladder series!! Yeah, that cool. It’s an engine plan: The Pro Mazda Championship has contracted the services of SpeedSource Race Engineering as the official engine builder and technical consultant of the newly formed Pro Mazda Championship series which fills the opening vacated by Star Mazda. The  Florida based company will begin the re-manufacturing of all Mazda Renesis rotary engines currently used in the championship to 2013 specifications and also provide internal modifications to ensure parity between engines and greater longevity of a season or more.

In addition to a long and notable history of racing under the Mazda banner, SpeedSource is the exclusive engine supplier of rotary engines to Mazda-powered GRAND-AM Rolex GT teams and is currently developing the Mazda SKYACTIV-D compound turbo diesel motorsports engine for the 2013 GRAND-AM GX class. Founded and led by accomplished driver and team owner Sylvain Tremblay in 1995 to provide full-service race services and custom components to club level and professional drivers, the company operates out of a 50,000 square foot facility that houses both development and racing applications.

The Mazda Renesis rotary engine used in Pro Mazda is capable of producing 260 horsepower – providing an additional 90 horsepower over the Mazda MZR powerplant utilized in USF2000, the first step on the Mazda Road to Indy. The internationally award-winning engine also powers the Mazda RX-8 passenger car. SpeedSource will begin the remanufacturing process on Pro Mazda engines this month. The program will be fully implemented by May 1. Pro Mazda Series succeeds Star Mazda Series, that was sold to Andersen by founder Gary Rodrígues.

“I am very pleased to add SpeedSource to our list of high-quality partners,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions, the Pro Mazda Series promoter. “Although I have not had prior dealings with SpeedSource, it is clear to me that they not only have an impressive resume and reputation but also have put together a great new Pro Mazda engine program. I am very confident that this will result in a better championship for our competing teams.”

“We are very proud to have been chosen as the engine supplier for the Pro Mazda Series,” said Sylvain Tremblay. “The series itself has a great standing and we look forward to continuing the fantastic reputation of Mazda’s Renesis rotary engine. Andersen Promotions has been great to work with and it is easy to see why they are the primary resource for Mazda’s ladder program.”