Cooper Tires expands prize package to more than $50,000 for pre-season Mazda Road to Indy races.
The quest for supremacy in the Mazda Road to Indy will see its now traditional pre-season start with the fifth annual Cooper Tires Winterfest in February, offering all three levels of the ladder system a jumpstart on their 2015 campaigns. The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda will once again contest a series of six races over the course of a week while the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires will expand from four to six races next year. Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires teams will take part in a comprehensive test comprising over 14 hours of track time with the new AER-powered Dallara IL-15.
The outing will kick off at NOLA Motorsports Park just outside of New Orleans, La., on Feb. 18-20 and will move to Barber Motorsports Park near Birmingham, Ala., on Feb. 24-26. Three races for USF2000 and Pro Mazda will be on deck at each circuit with competitors vying for an enhanced prize money package of $50,000 and early bragging rights on the southern road courses. Indy Lights teams posting the fastest lap time at each track will be awarded one free set of Cooper tires.
“The Cooper Tires Winterfest provides a great first glimpse of the talent we have onboard for the upcoming season,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “It’s a chance to welcome new and returning drivers and also watch our graduates take their next steps on the ladder. Obviously, I am especially excited this year with the debut of the Dallara IL-15 and very much look forward to seeing the progress our teams make with this new package after such a successful prototype testing program.
“I want to thank our tremendous partners at Cooper Tires for continuing to support this pre-season championship as well as enhancing the prize package for our competitors.”
Reigning champion Spencer Pigot and Juncos Racing captured the 2014 Cooper Tires Winterfest title in Pro Mazda with championship runner-up RC Enerson and Team E Racing securing USF2000 honors. In Indy Lights testing, champion Gabby Chaves with Belardi Auto Racing set the pace at NOLA and was narrowly eclipsed by Matthew Brabham of Andretti Autosport at Barber.
Cooper Tires, the Official Tire and Partner of the entire Mazda Road to Indy, has been a supporter of the event since its inception.
“After the exciting finish in all classes for the 2014 championships, we cannot wait to see who the frontrunners will be,” stated Chris Pantani, Cooper Tire Director of Motorsports. “The Cooper Tires Winterfest is the first chance to see the 2015 teams and drivers begin, or defend, their title quest.”
A full schedule for the Cooper Tires Winterfest is available on the series’ respective websites. The 2015 Mazda Road to Indy regular season race calendar for each series will be announced in the coming weeks.