Ayla Agren is heading back home.
The only female driver competing on the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires will return for another season in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda and with the team who brought her to the U.S. – Team Pelfrey.
“Welcoming Ayla back to Team Pelfrey is fantastic news,” said Team Pelfrey general manager Jonathan Baker. “She won a championship in a yellow Team Pelfrey-powered machine in 2014, and being able to bring her back into our new look USF2000 outfit is an exciting prospect.
“She’s fast, she’s exactly where she wants to be, and she is hungry to do well. We all know what she is capable of, and in what will no doubt be one of the most competitive seasons in recent USF2000 history, we’re up for the fight."
Agren won the F1600 Championship in 2014 and is now looking to build upon that relationship as the season nears. The 23-year-old Norweigian has scored 19 top 10 finishes in her last two years driving in the series.
“I am very excited to be back with Team Pelfrey, we’ve had some great results together in previous seasons and I am really happy to get the chance to work together again,” said Agren, who will pilot the No. 82 florescent yellow Energima/Team Pelfrey Mazda alongside her teammate Robert Megennis. “I’m looking forward to being back on the USF2000 grid in the new Tatuus [USF-17] car and on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder for the 2017 season. I cannot wait for the season to start!”
Pro Mazda field continues to grow
The Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires field has grown by two drivers in recent days as Bobby Eberle, a multiple Pro Mazda Championship expert class champion, and USF2000 veteran Max Hanratty announced plans to race in the series in 2017.
Eberle will race for World Speed Motorsports, while Hanratty has joined series newcomer Leading Edge Grand Prix.
"I'm thrilled to be driving for World Speed in the 2017 season," Eberle said. "World Speed is an incredible bunch of guys, and we are all dedicated to raising the bar and doing better than ever. During this season, as I move up to the Championship class, I needed a team that had experience and a commitment to give 100% all the time. With World Speed, I have no doubt that they will deliver. I'll be reunited with my coach and engineer from the 2016 season, and I'll be back with the team that got me started down this road. I'm so excited to see what we can do."
With two seasons of USF2000 under his belt, Hanratty is more than eager to take the next step on the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires.
“I am excited to be joining Leading Edge Grand Prix for the 2017 Pro Mazda season,” he said. “The LEGP crew have been in the racing industry for over 20 years and I have confidence in their ability to provide a car capable of winning races. Racing in USF2000 and IMSA with the Prototype Lites series, I feel confident in my ability to adapt to the new car. Andersen Promotions has done an incredible job with the Mazda Road to Indy program providing a path and scholarship system. There’s a lot on the line and I’m grateful to be able to compete.” -