Six Nationalities Involved in Pro Mazda Championship Battle

By the Numbers Entering Mid-Ohio:

Current Points: Urrutia (251), Tan (224), Alberico (218), Buret (210), O’Ward (203)
Number of Race Winners: 6
Race Wins: Tan (4), Alberico (3), Urrutia (2), Buret (1), Grist (1), Latorre (1)
Number of Podium Finishers: 11
Podiums: Urrutia (6), Tan (6), Buret (6), Alberico (5), O’Ward (3), Latorre (3), Owen (2), Grist (2), Gutierrez (1), Burkett (1), Kellett (1)
Poles: Tan (6), Alberico (2), Urrutia (1), Buret (1), Grist (1), Latorre (1)

For proof of the global appeal of the Mazda Road to Indy, look no further than the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, in which a Uruguayan (Santi Urrutia), a Malaysian (Weiron Tan), an American (Neil Alberico), a Frenchman (Timothe Buret), a Mexican (Pato O’Ward) and a Canadian (Garett Grist) are separated by just 46 points with four races remaining this season. Their quest to win a MAZDASPEED scholarship worth $568,700 to assist in graduation to Indy Lights, the top level of the Mazda Road to Indy, in 2016 will continue this weekend with two races which will comprise the Cooper Tires Pro Mazda Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio.

Only O’Ward (Team Pelfrey), the youngest driver in the field at 16, has yet to win a race, although perhaps that milestone is just around the corner given his recent string of three podium finishes in as many starts. In fact, O’Ward has scored more points than anyone else during that period of time.

O’Ward’s teammate, Urrutia, holds a healthy 27-point lead in the standings following an impressively consistent first-ever season in North America after learning the tools of his trade in Europe over the past four years. Tan, too, has crossed the Pond after competing in the German Formula 3 series in 2014. The Malaysian has won four times with Andretti Autosport – more than anyone else – including a romp to victory last time out at Iowa Speedway.

Alberico (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing), from Los Gatos, Calif., and Grist (Juncos Racing), from Grimsby, Ont., are the only non-rookies among the top eight in the point standings. Alberico, who finished third in the 2014 title-chase, has struggled to match the form that brought victory in the first two races of the season, while Grist, who struggled in the early races, has found some speed of late after winning his home race in Toronto, Canada, then setting a blistering pace during a subsequent series test at Mid-Ohio.

Buret (Juncos Racing), from Montpellier, France also is in the thick of the points battle with one win and five additional podium finishes to his credit, while countryman Florian Latorre (Cape Motorsports), who won last year at Mid-Ohio en route to the USF2000 championship and a MAZDASPEED scholarship prize to graduate into Pro Mazda, has won once this year.

Mid-Ohio also will see the return of Michael Johnson (JDC MotorSports). The only paralyzed racer on the Mazda Road to Indy was injured in a heavy crash at St. Petersburg, Fla., earlier in the season but the native of Flint, Mich., has been working hard to prepare for his comeback and showed well during the recent open test.

The Pro Mazda teams will continue their preparations for the weekend with three test sessions on Thursday, July 30, followed by another 30-minute practice on Friday and a single qualifying session later in the afternoon. Race One will start at 1:00 PM on Saturday, August 1, and Race Two at 8:50 AM on Sunday. Live timing and commentary for all sessions will be available on the new Mazda Road to Indy App and at with live streaming at Special features can be found at RoadToIndy.TV.

Cooper Tires Pro Mazda Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course – Lexington, Ohio – June 30-July 1, 2015
2.258-mile, 13-turn road course

Entry List
As of July 26, 2015

Track Records:
Qualifying – Ryan Justice 1:18.300 = 103.816 mph May 20, 2006
Race – Daniel Herrington 1:19.970 = 101.648 mph May 20, 2006

No. Driver Hometown Residence Team Sponsors
1. 2 Daniel Burkett (R) Winnipeg, Man., Canada Winnipeg, Man., Canada Cape Motorsports w/WTR Granite Financial Group Inc.
2. 3 Neil Alberico Los Gatos, CA Redlands, CA Cape Motorsports w/WTR Rising Star Racing/Mobe
3. 5 Garett Grist Grimsby, Ont., Canada Grimsby, Ont., Canada Juncos Racing Lander Property Management
4. 6 Timothe Buret (R) Montpellier, France Indianapolis, IN Juncos Racing Broadsign/TRAXX.FM/Driving Koncept
5. 7 Jose Gutierrez Monterrey, Mexico Monterrey, Mexico Juncos Racing Prisma
6. 10 Florian Latorre (R) Libourne, France Auriolles, France Cape Motorsports w/WTR du Sud-Ouest/COGNY/LATORRE Menuiserie/VISEZ/K1
7. 13 Bobby Eberle* Victoria, TX Houston, TX World Speed Motorsports
8. 14 Alessandro Latif (R) London, England London, England World Speed Motorsports Corthay
9. 21 Victor Franzoni (R) Sao Paulo, Brazil Sao Paulo, Brazil M1 Racing AutoEnginuity/Novac Sports
10. 22 Weiron Tan (R) Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Houston, TX Andretti Autosport Weiron Tan Andretti Autosport
11. 23 Will Owen (R) Plano, TX Castle Rock, CO Juncos Racing AMR
12. 28 Dalton Kellett Toronto, Ont., Canada Indianapolis, IN Andretti Autosport K-Line Insulators USA, Inc.
13. 54 Michael Johnson Flint, MI Flint, MI JDC MotorSports Universal Coating Inc./BraunAbility
14. 57 Bob Kaminsky* (R) Lockport, IL Lockport, IL Kaminsky Racing, Inc. Slick Locks
15. 80 Raoul Owens (R) Pembrey, England Boston, MA Team Pelfrey Brightspark Ventures
16. 81 Santiago Urrutia (R) Miguelete, Uruguay Miguelete, Uruguay Team Pelfrey Ancap/BSE/Antel/Corporacion de Maquinaria/AgroLavalle/Fadisol
17. 82 Pato O’Ward (R) Monterrey, Mexico San Antonio, TX Team Pelfrey Octane Energy Drink
18. 91 Kyle Connery Stuart, FL Vero Beach, FL JDC MotorSports Hi-Tide Boat Lifts/Connery Concrete
*Expert Class
R = Series Rookie