In 2011, the Pro Formula Mazda Championship entered its twenty-first season as one of North America's premier open-wheel driver development series.
Series graduates have gone on to race in F1, Indy Cars, NASCAR, American Le Mans and Grand-Am.
The most newsworthy story this year was a change in sanctioning bodies. After twelve years under the International Motor Sports Association, the Pro Formula Mazda Championship joined IndyCar.
After several years the Mazda open-wheel championship replaced its race-proven and reliable Star Mazda with a new model. Beginning in 2004, competitors would be racing a Pro Formula Mazda.
The Pro Formula Mazda is manufactured by the Van Diemen / Elan Motorsports Technologies group. The chassis is a carbon-fiber tub with fiberglass bodywork. The front and rear suspension 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 a no-lift shift.
The opening round of the 2011 Pro Formula Mazda Championship was held at St. Petersburg and ended in late-October at theIndianapolis Motor Speedway.
In addition to the overall title, championships were on the line for:
The 2011 Pro Formula Mazda Championship opened with a race around the fourteen-turn 1.800-mile temporary street course in Saint Petersburg.
|Connor De Phillippi won the final Pro Formula Mazda race last year at Road Atlanta. De Phillippi competed with JDC Motorsports the previous season but joined Team Pelfrey for his 2011 campaign. He raced the No. 11 Pro Formula Mazda. In qualifying, De Phillippi was third fastest. After the race’s first caution, he moved into second on the restart. On lap-5, he grabbed the top spot and controlled the contest to the checker.|
|Chilean rookie Martin Scuncio won the pole position for race one at Saint Petersburg by a margin of 0.053-seconds. Scuncio was quick in practice and topped the timesheets in the final session. There was a full-course yellow on the first lap of the race. Perhaps his lack of experience caught him out and he lost first place to Connor De Phillippi on the restart. Scuncio would cross the finish line 2.261-seconds behind De Phillippi.|
|France’s Tristan Vautier ended last season with victories at Sebring and New Jersey and a fifth place in the final standings. He started 2011 by setting the quickest lap in the opening practice session driving the No. 5 JDC Motorsports prepared Pro Formula Mazda. In qualifying, Vautier recorded the fifth-fastest time. The early retirement of Nick Andries and a pass on Patrick McKenna was rewarded with the final spot on the podium.|
|One of the many newcomers to this year’s championship was Patrick McKenna. McKenna piloted the No. 48 Motorsport Ireland / Irish Sports Council / General Data Tech Pro Formula Mazda and was quick enough to be in the top ten during both practice sessions. In qualifying, he set the fourth-fastest time. The retirement of Nick Andries moved McKenna up a spot, but he lost a position to Tristan Vautier and finished fourth.|
|Chris Miller returned for his second year of the Pro Formula Mazda Championship. In his rookie season, Miller’s best result was seventh place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. In 2011, he rejoined JDC Motorsports in the No. 85 Pro Formula Mazda with support from Miller Milling and Red Line Oil. He was gridded eighth for round one and moved into fifth place on lap-21. Miller would hold the position to the checkered flag.|
|1||3||Connor De Phillippi||Pro Formula Mazda||29||-|
|2||1||Martin Scuncio||Pro Formula Mazda||29||-|
|3||5||Tristan Vautier||Pro Formula Mazda||29||-|
|4||4||Patrick McKenna||Pro Formula Mazda||29||-|
|5||8||Chris Miller||Pro Formula Mazda||29||-|
|6||11||Carlos Linares||Pro Formula Mazda||29||-|
|7||13||Nick Mancuso||Pro Formula Mazda||29||-|
|8||10||Gustavo Menezes||Pro Formula Mazda||29||-|
|9||12||Richard Heistand||Pro Formula Mazda||29||-|
|10||18||Jérimy Daniel||Pro Formula Mazda||29||-|
|11||14||J.W. Roberts||Pro Formula Mazda||33||-|
|12||15||Zach Meyer||Pro Formula Mazda||33||-|
|13||16||Larry Pegram||Pro Formula Mazda||33||-|
|14||9||J.V. Horto||Pro Formula Mazda||33||-|
|15||7||Sage Karam||Pro Formula Mazda||33||-|
|16||17||Walt Bowlin||Pro Formula Mazda||33||-|
|17||13||Nick Andries||Pro Formula Mazda||32||-|
|18||6||Tatiana Calderon||Pro Formula Mazda||32||-|
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