Championships have endowed Spencer Pigot’s steady progression through the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system, and the Verizon IndyCar Series is the next step for the Orlando, Fla., native after claiming the 2015 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires title.
A $1 million Mazda scholarship and guaranteed three-race package, including the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, were the incentives for the talented competitors throughout the 16-race schedule.
Pigot, who turned 22 on Sept. 29, earned the title in the series’ 30th anniversary season by sweeping the two races last month at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. He entered the finale six points behind front-runner Jack Harvey in the standings.
Reaching an equitable deal and more than a three-race package with a Verizon IndyCar Series team is Pigot’s next objective.
“There are a lot of really good teams out there. I guess it comes down to which teams have seats available,” he said. “There are some teams that are full, some one-car teams, some teams that may be looking to expand to another car.
“I think that's where the first conversation comes in. Just seeing who has availability for next year and whether or not they're interested in having me drive for them. I don't really have one in mind that I really want to drive for and I'll be disappointed if it's not them.
“At the end of the day, we've seen IndyCar drivers from lots of different teams can be up there and win races and be on the podium. Just looking for whatever team is the best fit and we can put the strongest package together.”
In mid-August, Pigot joined six other Indy Lights competitors in driving Verizon IndyCar Series cars in a shared test day at Sonoma Raceway.
“As far as next year racing against the IndyCar veterans, I can't wait,” he said. “I've been watching some of these guys ever since I can remember. (Juan Pablo) Montoya, (Scott) Dixon, Helio (Castroneves); to be actually on the grid with them will be pretty special.
“There’s definitely still a lot for me to learn moving up into IndyCar, and just looking forward to whatever the future holds. Whatever team and teammates I'll be driving for, just looking forward to soaking up as much information as I can. Hopefully it's the start of a long career for me in the Verizon IndyCar Series.”
Pigot competed two seasons each in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda and the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, securing the 2014 Pro Mazda title and corresponding Mazda scholarship. Twelve of his podium finishes in 30 Pro Mazda races included seven victories. In 26 USF2000 races, he scored 19 podium finishes, including 11 wins, in 26 races.
Pigot and Juncos Racing moved to Indy Lights, where he won a series-high six races and completed five seasons competing in a defined path to the Verizon IndyCar Series.
“Moving up to Road to Indy, all the cars are nice and progressive, so each level gets a bit bigger and a bit faster,” Pigot said. “Especially this year with the new Indy Lights car. Quite a bit different to anything I've driven before in terms of pace and the size of the car, all the things you have to do with the push-to-pass strategy and this and that.
“The Mazda Road to Indy has been vital for my career. Ever since I was 16, my first transition into car racing was with Mazda and I probably wouldn't have been able to move up to the Skip Barber National championship without Mazda's help.
“From then on, moving up through the ladder with them and Cooper Tires, the whole ladder system is absolutely fantastic. Each rung brings a new challenge and new type of car that helps prepare you for the next level.
“I'm very fortunate that it's around and I've been able to take advantage of it quite a few times.”