The objective of Formula Mazda is to develop new race driving talent. Many American motorsports fans are puzzled that the sport at its highest levels in North America is dominated by European and South American drivers wîth North America better represented by young Canadians than by Ú.S. born drivers. It is not our view that provincialism is appropriate to developing American talent. If young American drivers are to eventually become world class, they must compete against all comers.
The problem is not that there are few talented American drivers. The problem is that corporate American sponsors have been painfully slow in 'coming to the party' in motorsports; thus the few young American drivers to be given the opportunity to compete in recent years have usually been sons of established drivers or sons of wealthy motorsports enthusiasts. Although the above-mentioned drivers have acquitted themselves admirably in some cases, they are not the product of natural selection based solely on talent.
We feel the way to get the best new drivers to the top in motorsports is to provide an opportunity for the maximum number of drivers to compete 'on a level playing field' on the same race tracks that are used for major league events, for the lowest possible cost. Formula Mazda and the Star Mazda Series were crafted to fulfill these needs.
The car has been designed to keep costs down by using inexpensive technology. The car is nonetheless a real racecar wîth most of the adjustments found on much more expensive cars. The class and the series have been administered to encourage top performers wîth speed and consistency, not flashy, crash-prone prima donnas wîth big budgets. Prize money is paid well down into the finishing order to encourage fledgling drivers to continue their efforts to improve. Race car updates are carefully introduced, simultaneously to all, and always bolt on to the earlier cars, so that the cost of obsolescence is minimized. Depreciation of the cars is therefore negligible.
The motors are all built by one engine builder. Each one is certified to produce the prescribed power and sealed to discourage tampering. They are in a relatively mild state of racing trim so that they are extremely reliable. Racers typically go years between motor rebuilds.
The series administration works hard to develop an atmosphere of spirited competition without losing the ideal of sportsmanship. Competitors are encouraged to help each other field competitive cars and then fight fiercely for positions on the track. We have seen members from four competing teams join to rebuild a damaged car so that a fellow Formula Mazda competitor would not miss a qualifying session. They wanted to best him fairly on the track, not because he started the race wîth a handicap.
Another example of the sportsmanship the series seeks to encourage was shown during the 1996 TV broadcast of the Formula Mazda race at Sears Point. The field was being slowed by the pace car during a full course caution situation when a driver intent on 'closing up,' as briefed before the race, came over a blind hill too fast and ran into the back of another race car. The cameras subsequently showed the two drivers involved in the collision shaking hands as the TV announcers applauded their noble behavior.
We believe any sponsor involved wîth Formula Mazda should be proud to be contributing to the good of the sport and helping nurture emerging driving talent. That is the purpose of the car and the series that have grown around it.
The success of the concept can be first measured by the growth of the Star Mazda Series across the country. There are now eight series wîth over 250 cars in competition. By 2001, nearly 300 cars are expected to be in the field. Eventually, the proof of the concept will occur when a few world class drivers note their careers beginnings were in Formula Mazdas.Source - Mazda