Mazda Road to Indy Drivers Set for Spring Training in Alabama
 March 2, 2016| 
  • Series News
Cosmopolitan Field will Converge in Birmingham for Final Pre-Season Test

PALMETTO, Fla. – Almost 50 up-and-coming race car drivers representing no fewer than 18 nations will converge this week on Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., for the official Mazda Road to Indy Spring Training Test – the final opportunity for teams to prepare for the following week’s season-opening races on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.

All three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy will be in attendance, with Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires competitors taking to the scenic 2.3-mile road course on Saturday, March 5, and the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda fields sharing track time on Sunday and Monday, March 6-7.

The Mazda Road to Indy provides a clear path for teams and drivers with scholarship prizes at every level to assist in their progression from karting through USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights to the Verizon IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500. More than $3.6 million will be up for grabs during the season which begins with the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 11-13 and continues through to the finale for all three series at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., on September 9-11.

Canada’s Grist Heads Select Pro Mazda Field
Garett Grist, from Grimsby, Ont., Canada, has a score to settle in 2016. He began last year as one of the title favorites in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, joining defending champion team Juncos Racing after winning three times in 2014, and while he accumulated more points in the second half of the season than anyone else, including champion Santi Urrutia, a disappointing first half of the campaign left him languishing third in the points table. Now a six-time Pro Mazda race winner, Grist has his eyes set firmly on the championship and a coveted Mazda Scholarship to assist in graduation to Indy Lights in 2017.

Grist will have three teammates at Juncos Racing: highly rated Australian Jake Parsons, who finished second in last year’s Chinese Formula Masters Championship, returning veteran Will Owen, from Castle Rock, Colo., and young Argentinean Nicolas Dapero.

Malaysian Weiron Tan, a four-time winner last year, also has high expectations, joining Team Pelfrey, which guided Urrutia to the 2015 championship, alongside proven USF2000 race winner Aaron Telitz, from Birchwood, Wis.

Two of Telitz’s USF2000 rivals for the past two years, fellow former Team USA Scholarship winner Jake Eidson, from Littleton, Colo., and last year’s champion Nico Jamin, from Rouen, France, also will step up into Pro Mazda with another sure-fire front-running team Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing.

A pair of National class veterans, Bobby Eberle, from Houston, Texas, and Jay Horak, from Mesa, Ariz., will represent World Speed Motorsports and M1 Racing respectively.

The Mazda Road to Indy Spring Training test will commence with a pair of sessions for Indy Lights on Saturday, March 5, from 9:00-12:00 p.m. and 1:30-5:00 p.m., then continue with the Pro Mazda and USF2000 teams taking over with three sessions apiece on Sunday and Monday. Live timing for all on-track sessions will be carried on the respective series websites – indylights.compromazda.com and usf2000.com.
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