After several years the Mazda open-wheel championship replaced their race-proven and reliable Star Mazda with a new model. Those competing in the 2004 series would be racing a Pro Formula Mazda.

The Pro Formula Mazda is being manufactured by the Van Diemen / Elan Motorsports Technologies group. The chassis is a carbon-fiber tub with fiberglass bodywork. The suspension, both front and rear, is a pushrod setup with two-way adjustable shock absorbers. Stopping the Pro Formula Mazda are four-piston calipers with vented rotors. It is powered by a 240-horsepower Renesis Mazda engine, also used in the road-going version of the Mazda RX-8. Bolted to the motor is a six-speed sequential transmission with no-lift shift. The car's first outing at Sebring International Raceway proved to be eight seconds a lap quicker than last year's Star Mazda.

The opening round of the 2004 Pro Formula Mazda Championship was held at Sebring International Raceway and ended in mid-October at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

  • March 19 Sebring International Raceway
  • June 26 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
  • July 3 Lime Rock Park
  • July 17 Infineon Raceway
  • July 24 Portland International Raceway
  • August 7 Mosport International Raceway
  • August 21 Road America
  • September 24 - Road Atlanta
  • October 2 Phoenix International Raceway
  • October 16 Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

Round one of the 2004 Pro Formula Mazda Championship was held at Sebring International Raceway during the 12-Hours of Sebring weekend. Drivers would compete for twenty laps around the seventeen-turn 3.7-mile road course.

Once again, a rookie won the series' opening round at Sebring. Last year, the victory went to Michael McDowell and this season, Dan DiLeo claimed the win. DiLeo put the No. 19 Star Race Cars Pro Formula Mazda on the pole. His strategy during the race was to maintain a steady pace so that his tires would be in good condition for the final ten minutes of the contest. It worked and DiLeo captured first place.
Finishing behind Dan DiLeo was series veteran Moses Smith. On the strength of six podiums, two of which were victories, he finished third in last season's point chase. In 2004, Smith was piloting the No. 76 3 Dimensional Services Pro Formula Mazda and qualified third fastest at Sebring. He lost two positions early in the contest but got them back. Smith charged to the front and finished 3.332-seconds behind DiLeo.
Collecting third place at Sebring was Michael Potekhen. Potekhen returned to the series last season after a three-year absence. He proved he hadn't lost any of his speed and finished second in round one. In 2004, Potekhen competed in the No. 26 Eurosport Racing Pro Formula Mazda and qualified fifth. An incident between the second and fourth place starters allowed him to earn the final spot on the podium.
The driver of the No. 42 HASA Pool Products sponsored Pro Formula Mazda, Mike Anderson, made his series debut in 2001. Last year, he finished seventh in the standings, which was his best season. Anderson was gridded in the tenth position for this year's opening round. He worked his way to the front and benefited from McDowell / Friselle incident, which permitted him to earn a fourth-place finish.
Rookie Brian Frisselle qualified on the outside of the front row for the twenty-lap contest. At the start, the No. 15 Ventura Travel Service Pro Formula Mazda driver shot into the lead. Frisselle maintained the top sport until lap-6, when he was hit by the fourth-fastest qualifier, Michael McDowell, at the hairpin. He was able to return to the pit lane but retired from the race with a thirty-first place finish.
Michael McDowell opened this year's campaign by putting the No. 2 Pro Formula Mazda fourth on the grid. McDowell moved into second early in the race and then made contact with the leader, Brian Frisselle. His car was damaged, but he kept racing and crossed the finish line in fourth. McDowell was penalized for his incident with Frisselle and was classified with a thirty-second place finish.

FINISHSTARTDRIVERCARLAPSRETIREMENTS
11Dan DiLeoStar Pro20-
23Moses SmithStar Pro20-
35Mike PotekhenStar Pro20-
410Mike AndersonStar Pro20-
511Nick SteeleStar Pro20-
69Mickey GilbertStar Pro20-
77Scott JenkinsStar Pro20-
814Jamie BachStar Pro20-
913Doug PetersonStar Pro20-
1018Luis SchiavoStar Pro20-
116John GreenStar Pro20-
1215Brian ThienesStar Pro20-
1312Brad ColemanStar Pro20-
148Tom NastasiStar Pro20-
1519Andre DesmaraisStar Pro20-
1616Richard FullertonStar Pro20-
1724Kurt RoehrigStar Pro20-
1825Bob KaminskyStar Pro20-
1920Glen BocchinoStar Pro20-
2021John FaulknerStar Pro20-
2127Steve HickhamStar Pro20-
2222Jon BrownsonStar Pro20-
2329Dan WeylandStar Pro19-
2432Mark PavanStar Pro19-
2530Dan Tomlin, Jr.Star Pro19-
2617Ryan JusticeStar Pro19-
2731David HamiltonStar Pro19-
2833Ross SmithStar Pro19-
2928Dan Tomlin IIIStar Pro18-
3026Steve CookStar Pro8Did Not Finish
312Brian FrisselleStar Pro7Did Not Finish
324Michael McDowellStar Pro20Penalty
3323Jim MalakowskiStar Pro3Did Not Finish

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