The Indycar community took a collective gasp Tuesday morning when it was abrubtly told that Mazda would be pulling its title sponsorship of the Mazda Road to Indy Program.
“On behalf of Mazda, I’d like to thank Andersen Promotions and everyone involved with the Road to Indy for a wonderful nine years, but the time has come for Mazda to focus our resources into other areas of our motorsports footprint,” said Mazda Motorsports director John Doonan.
He further elaborated Mazda's future by doubling down on their commitment to the Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup.
This comes as a massive blow to the already suffering Mazda Road to Indy, the pinnacle of which, Indy Lights, very rarely runs more than ten cars on a given weekend. More importantly, it strikes a blow to the many, many up and commers who put their faith in the Road to Indy Program and the scholarships it provides.
Unlike many European feeder series, the Road to Indy series offers its winner monetary scholarships to advance up the ladder, culminating in a promise of a part time drive in Indycar for the Indy Lights winner.
While Indycar as a whole will have time to find a replacement, however, as Mazda has commited to providing scholarships through the 2019 season, scholarships which amass to roughly $1.1 million.