Star Mazda to race at Iowa Speedway with IndyCar

STAR MAZDA CHAMPIONSHP COMPLETES 10-WEEKEND, 17-RACE 2012 SCHEDULE WITH ANNOUNCEMENT OF EVENT AT IOWA SPEEDWAY DURING IOWA CORN INDY 250

The Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear today announced the completion of the series 10-weekend, 17-race schedule for 2012 with the addition of the Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway, June 22-23. 

This will be the series' fourth visit to the high-speed, 0.875-mile tri-oval located in Newton, Iowa, 30 miles East of Des Moines.  Star Mazda Championship competition at Iowa Speedway is always fast and wheel-to-wheel, with 2010 series Champion Conor Daly holding the series lap record at 21.933 sec. / 143.338;  he set the quick time in qualifying and went on to win the hotly-contested race.  Other Star Mazda winners at Iowa Speedway include Peter Dempsey at the series' debut in 2009, and Sage Karam in 2011; he went on to become Rookie of the Year and finish 5th in the championship.

"We're delighted to be going back to Iowa Speedway with IndyCar and look forward to another exciting race... and one that will be on television both throughout the U.S. and globally on Discovery's Velocity channel and ESPN International," says Gary Rodrigues, founder and President of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear.  "Our mission is to provide drivers with the most comprehensive education possible to prepare them to move up and compete in Indy Lights and IndyCar.  Naturally, this includes racing on ovals, natural terrain road courses and street circuits, all of which are represented in our 2012 schedule.  With a strong international field of young drivers, global TV coverage and the Mazda Road to Indy scholarship for our 2012 champion to move up and compete in the 2013 Indy Lights series, this is shaping up to be a big year for the Star Mazda Championship."

On-track action begins with an official Star Mazda Championship series test at Barber Motorsports Park, March 19-20.  This will be the first official series test.  From the Barber test, teams will head directly for IndyCar's high-profile season-opener, the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, March 24-25, and then return immediately to race at Barber Motorsports Park on the IndyCar weekend, March 31-April 1.

The drivers' oval-track education continues on Memorial Day weekend as the Star Mazda Championship heads for the prestigious "Night Before the 500" held at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis on Saturday night, May 26, before the 101st running of the Indy 500.  The winner of the race will be introduced to the crowd at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the opening ceremonies on Sunday morning.  Other major activities during this event include an autograph session at the Speedway's famed Gasoline Alley and the annual Indy Summit where drivers meet with top IndyCar teams, drivers and series officials.

From Indianapolis, teams and drivers head for the second oval on the schedule, the Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway, June 22-23.  Following that is a four-weekend run of street circuits, beginning with three in a row in Canada including IndyCar's Grand Prix of Toronto, July 7-8, followed by the Grand Prix of Edmonton, July 21-22.  This will be the series' first visit to the airport circuit in Alberta.  The third race in Canada is the 43rd running of the GP3R in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, August 3-5, where Star Mazda and Indy Lights will share top billing

Back in the U.S., the fourth street circuit is the hugely popular Grand Prix of Baltimore, September 1-2.  Immediately following Baltimore, teams will head for the West Coast to compete in the Grand-Am weekend at Mazda Raceway in Northern California, September 8-9.  .  The final Star Mazda Championship race of the 2012 season will take place during the 15th Annual Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda at Road Atlanta October 17 - 20.

Rising racing stars from around the world will hone their skills at five street circuits, three road courses and two ovals; with the exception of the season finale at Road Atlanta, all street circuit and road course weekends will be 'double headers featuring two races, with the fastest lap for each car in Race 1 determining the starting grid for Race 2.  Both oval track weekends will be single races.

In addition to providing more racing with no increase in budget or travel, the new double-header format is designed to be attractive to the businessmen/racers competing in the Star Mazda Expert Series for drivers 30 and older.  Ten races during the season will count toward the Expert Series Championship, allowing Expert competitors to run a complete season in five weekends.

The Iowa Speedway race, as with all Star Mazda Championship races in 2012, will be broadcast in the U.S. on Discovery's Velocity TV channel, and around the globe on ESPN International.  In the U.S., races will be part of a show titled "Mazda Motorsports Hour" that will also include coverage of the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.  24 shows will be broadcast on a tape-delay basis from April through November.  ESPN International dates and show times will vary; for further information on both broadcasts, visit StarMazda.com and click the Star Mazda TV icon.

Racing action will be highlighted with video clips recorded by Replay XD1080 cameras, the official on-board camera of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear.  Each car in the series will carry two cameras, one mounted in a 'shark fin' atop the roll hoop, the other placed at the team's discretion; facing the driver, in the footwell, mounted to the suspension, etc.  For a sample of Star Mazda action recorded on Replay XD1080 cameras, click here.

Recorded high-definition digital footage from each car will be downloaded after the race and made available to Carolinas Production Group, Inc., the TV company producing the "Mazda Motorsports Hour" airing on Discovery's Velocity Channel beginning in April.  Footage can also be utilized by teams and drivers as a testing and educational tool; the Replay XD1080 cameras can be synchronized with the data system on each car, allowing video playback with data - engine rpm, throttle position, g-loadings, braking, etc.