On Tuesday of this week, MAZDASPEED Motorsports held its 2012 kickoff meeting for the press and it was clear what positive effects the maturing unification of American open wheel professional racing was having on their commitment to automobile racing and driver development. This maturing effect can be seen clearly in the strengthening of and coordination with IndyCar of the Mazda driver development ladder system which features the Playboy MX-5 Cup, Star Mazda, Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship, and then on to Firestone Indy Lights – all series are a part of the development program known as the Mazda Road to Indy.
Drivers who show promise and success on the track in any of these series throughout the season qualify for additional chances to learn additional skills at being a professional driver and earn support “MAZDASPEED Motorsports Scholarships” through off-track developmental competitions that feature the creation of business plans and sponsor development processes upon which the driver moves to the next step in their racing career.
The next logical major support of the motorsports development ladder system on behalf of MAZDASPEED Motorsports is the get the word out through a well designed media campaign. This next step of media involvement is in the form of a packaged television series that will feature 24 regularly scheduled, one-hour tape delay packaged, race broadcasts of many of the support rungs of this greatest commitment to motorsports by any automobile manufacturer. The show will be entitled “The Mazda Motorsports Hour” and will debut on a newly launched channel which is part of the Discovery Channel called the Velocity Network.
This excerpted and edited from a press release of MAZDASPEED Motorsports –
The best race in the world is hearsay unless people see it. Some of the best racing in the world is not the headline race, but the support races featuring the stars of tomorrow. Mazda has supported more road racers over the past decade than any other automaker, and for 2012 is stepping up that support to include extended TV coverage on the new Velocity network.
“Hardcore fans know that some of the most intense action can be found in the Playboy MX-5 Cup, Star Mazda and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship. But if you weren’t at the race, you are left to take our word for it. Now, thanks to a partnership with Velocity, and Carolinas Production Group, fans can enjoy the action on a regular basis from their living room,” noted Jim Jordan, Alternative Marketing Manager, Mazda North America.
Rick Benjamin, award-winning motorsports broadcaster, will host “The Mazda Motorsports Hour”. Benjamin’s Carolinas Production Group will handle production and distribution of the Hour. Benjamin said, “it’s an honor for our company to be selected once again to produce and place coverage of the Playboy MX-5 Cup, Star Mazda, and USF2000 championships. Our partnership with Velocity gives us a tremendous platform to showcase the incredible talents of young drivers and veterans alike who are taking full advantage of Mazda’s ladder system.”
Joining Rick Benjamin in the booth will be racers Randy Pobst for the MX 5 Cup, and James Hinchcliffe [standout Canadian-born IndyCar driver] on Star and USF2000 [open wheel ladder series]. Todd Lewis will be the pit reporter.
The broadcasts will be a regularly-scheduled hour-long weekend show on Velocity – “The Mazda Motorsports Hour”. 24 shows will be broadcast on a tape-delay basis from April through November. The content will be a variety of Mazda centric series, with an emphasis on the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup, the Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear, and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. All three series are a part of the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Ladder, while the Star and USF2000 Championships are also a part of the Mazda Road to Indy[in co-ordination with Firestone Indy Lights]. To find Velocity Networkon your local cable system, go to Velocity.com.
This 2012 year in motorsports has a lot of excitement building around it, what with the many firsts surrounding the maturing unification of American open wheel professional racing.
In 2006 Mazda established the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder to assist racers in moving up through the ranks. Two years after the unification of the ChampCar World Series and the Indianapolis Racing League, 2010 saw the development ladder expanded to include the Mazda Road to Indy.
Keys to Mazda’s success are strategic partnerships with the Skip Barber Racing School and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. 2012 continues this deepest of commitments to motorsports and its development on the human level with the introduction of “The Mazda Motorsports Hour” on Discovery’s new Velocity Network.
2012 continues this deepest of commitments to motorsports and its development on the human level with the introduction of “The Mazda Motorsports Hour” on Discovery’s new Velocity Network. An internet online, on-demand program availability for viewing has a plan but is awaiting for the appropriate time for the announcement.
… notes from The EDJE
** Article first published as “The Mazda Motorsports Hour” Debuts On Discovery’s New Velocity Network on Technorati **