All Three Mazda Road to Indy Series Head North of the Border
 June 11, 2015| 
  • Series News
FIA Formula E Series Leader Nelson Piquet Jr. Joins the Indy Lights Fray

PALMETTO, Fla. – The cosmopolitan Canadian city of Toronto, Ont., is the next stop on the calendar for the entire Mazda Road to Indy development ladder as all three series – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda – will hold two races this weekend on the challenging 1.755-mile street circuit at Exhibition Place.

Drivers from as many as 15 different nations will be vying for honors over the weekend, although most eyes are likely to be focused on ex-Formula 1 driver Nelson Piquet Jr., who will be making his Indy Lights debut in place of fellow ex-F1 racer Max Chilton who is away with Le Mans commitments.

Englishman Harvey Leads the Way in Indy Lights
The Indy Lights title-chase is finely poised at the halfway stage in the 16-race season. Second-year contender Jack Harvey, from Lincoln, England, has rocketed to the top of the points standings on the heels of two wins from the last three races for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian. Harvey currently leads fellow Briton Ed Jones (Carlin) by 13 markers, 192-179, with American hope Spencer Pigot (Juncos Racing) a further 11 points in arrears. At stake is a scholarship which will include a guaranteed entry in three Verizon IndyCar Series races in 2016, including the 100th Indianapolis 500.

Harvey, 22, finished tied on points last year with Gabby Chaves, only to lose the title on a tie-breaker of second-place finishes. He is already a proven winner after claiming the 2012 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 Championship. Harvey also finished fifth and was the top rookie in the 2013 GP3 Series.

Jones, 20, burst onto the North American scene earlier this year with three consecutive victories for the accomplished Carlin team, which has won multiple championships in a variety of European disciplines over the past two decades.

While regular teammate Max Chilton, who raced in Formula 1 with the Marussia Manor team both in 2013 and 2014, is racing this weekend in the Le Mans 24 Hours, his seat will be filled by fellow ex-F1 racer – and son of a three-time F1 world champion -- Nelson Piquet Jr. The younger Piquet has amassed an impressive resume of his own. He followed in his father’s footsteps by winning the British F3 championship, then placed second in the 2006 GP2 Series before embarking on a career in F1 with Renault. When that foray ended, Piquet Jr. turned initially to stock cars, winning races in ARCA, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the Nationwide (now Xfinity) Championship. He currently leads the innovative new all-electric FIA Formula E Championship with only two races remaining and is a regular Red Bull Global Rallycross front-runner.

“I’ve been competing in a broad range of racing over the past few years and this will be another new experience for me,” said Piquet, 29. “I love open wheel racing but haven’t yet tried it in a U.S. based series, so Toronto is going to be interesting. I can’t wait to get in the car and see what we can do.”

Pigot, 21, from Orlando, Fla., currently holds third place in the championship, having dominated both races at Barber Motorsports Park, and is looking to rebound after a difficult month of May.

Other contenders will include teenagers R.C. Enerson (Schmidt Peterson) and Kyle Kaiser (Juncos Racing), plus another ex-European Formula 3 racer, Felix Serralles, who drives for the defending series champion team, Belardi Auto Racing.

The Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Toronto Powered by Mazda will comprise two races and begin with a pair of practice sessions on Friday, June 12, at 10:05 a.m. and 5:25 p.m. EDT. Qualifying will take place at 9:45 a.m. on Saturday, June 13, followed by a 40-minute race at 4:45 p.m. The green flag for the 60-minute “feature” event is scheduled to fly at 11:45 p.m. on Sunday, June 14, immediately prior to the Verizon IndyCar Series headline event. 

Sunday’s race will feature same-day coverage on NBCSN at 2:00 p.m. EDT. Live timing and commentary for all sessions will be available on the new Mazda Road to Indy App and at indylights.com with full coverage on the IMS Radio Network to Sirius XM Satellite Radio, indycar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR App from Verizon. 
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