In 2014 the Australian Formula Ford Series formed an alliance with Andersen Promotions, promotor of the Mazda USA 'Road to Indy' driver development ladder.
The alliance provides Australian Formula Ford competitors with a defined pathway to the Verizon IndyCar Championship, including the famed Indianapolis 500.
Mazda Road to Indy starts with the USF2000 Championship, and progresses through the Pro Mazda Championship to Indy Lights, the official IndyCar Championship feeder category.
The Australian Formula Ford Series winner is offered a two-day USF2000 test in the USA, and the opportunity to receive a financial incentive to compete in the entire USF2000 series.
USF2000 is a one-make 'wings and slicks' openwheeler category based on a Van Dieman Formula Ford chassis powered by the 2-litre EFI Mazda MZR engine. It's an ideal stepping-stone for Formula Ford drivers, and was won in 2012 by Matthew Brabham, grandson of Australian racing legend Sir Jack Brabham.
Matthew went on to win the Pro Mazda title in 2013, and has contested Indy Lights for the past two seasons with the aim of joining fellow Australians Will Power, Ryan Briscoe and James Davison in IndyCars in the near future.
The USF2000 Championship is an international series that attracts up-and-coming racers from around the globe including Europe, UK, Canada, South America in addition to the USA.
Road to Indy series director Dan Andersen is confident that Australian Formula Ford Series winners will be very competitive in USF2000.
"We hope that our alliance will provide further Australian competitors with an opportunity to progress their careers in our IndyCar-sanctioned USF2000 series”, Mr Anderson said .
USF2000 is arguably the world's most lucrative 'junior development' openwheeler category, with a total prize pool topping $US463,000 and a $US378,000 package for the winner to compete in the following year's Pro Mazda series.
With European openwheeler series becoming increasingly uneconomical for Australian competitors, Road to Indy is a highly attractive alternative.
The alliance will run for an initial period of three years from 2014-16, with both parties keen to work together long into the future.
This is an exciting time for Formula Ford in Australia, with more good news to come with the total prize pool for the Australian Formula Ford series to be announced in the near future.
For further information on the USF2000 series visit www.usf2000.com.
The 2014 Australian Formula Ford Series is proudly supported by Avon tyres, Andersen Promotions, Castrol, Kincrome and Ferodo.
For more information, contact the Formula Ford Association administrator or your state committee delegate.