Notes: Exclusive Autosport commits to purchase PM-18 chassis

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Exclusive Autosport has confirmed its intentions of continued expansion within the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires ladder system. The Canadian team, which just won its first USF2000 races in Toronto, has become the first operation to purchase a new Tatuus PM-18 car for the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. 

Team owner Michael Duncalfe remains focused on the growth and development of his team and is planning to run a two-car effort in Pro Mazda next year, further expanding his foundation that already include winning programs in F1600 and USF2000 competition.

“We are thrilled to announce that with the addition of the new Tatuus PM-18, Exclusive Autosport will be expanding our program in the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires with our entry into the 2018 Pro Mazda Championship,” Duncalfe said. “I have been very happy with the quality of the Tatuus USF-17, and have no doubt that the PM-18 will be equally as solid. With the additional aero package and the added horsepower in the 275hp Elite Engines-prepared Mazda powerplant, the Pro Mazda series is the perfect next step for drivers on the MRTI. Adding this next step to the Exclusive Autosport lineup will mean that drivers who enter our program can progress, in house, from our F1600 program to USF2000 and then on to Pro Mazda, providing a consistent environment for driver growth and development.” 

Norman to debut Journey sponsorship at Mid-Ohio

Ryan Norman will debut a new sponsor this weekend at the race closest to his hometown of Cleveland, as Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees Journey will be featured on the Andretti Autosport Indy Lights drivers car.

The new design which is orange with yellow and blue accents echoes Journey’s iconic logo, featuring giant wings on the side pod and nose cone of Norman’s Dallara IL-15. Needless to say Norman is ready to rock out on home turf this weekend and look to continue his rapid growth in his first season this weekend.

“I am very excited to have Journey on board for the rest of my 2017 season,” Norman said in a release. “It’s unique to have a rock band sponsoring a race car. Journey was inducted into The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, which is my hometown, so it makes the next race at Mid-Ohio very special to me. I love Journey’s music and having “Don’t Stop Believin’” on the side of my car is very fitting. This song has inspired a lot people including athletes like myself.”

Newman Wachs adds karting star Abel for Mid-Ohio

Newman Wachs Racing will add American karting graduate Jacob Abel to its driver lineup for this weekend’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda event at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The 16-year-old completed a successful test with the team at Autobahn Country Club last week in preparation for the doubleheader at Mid-Ohio, and will focus on gaining experience in the Mazda Road to Indy. Abel has made nine starts in the F4 U.S. Championship this year and will pilot the No. 37 Newman Wachs Racing / Abel Construction Tatuus USF-17 for the team next weekend.

“We had a very productive test with Jacob at Autobahn earlier this week and this bodes well for his USF2000 debut at the track next weekend,” said Brian Halahan, Newman Wachs Racing Team Manager. “Our team is coming off a very successful weekend in Toronto with Darren (Keane) and to have two talented karting graduates for the Mid-Ohio event will provide us with the additional data we need to dial in the set-up. We’re extremely happy to have Jacob under the tent and I expect him to perform well in his series debut. I watched him closely at the F4 event at Indianapolis in June and I was impressed, and he showed incredibly well at the test.”

Abel’s racing career has been brief, beginning in 2015 at New Castle Motorsports Park, the popular karting facility located just east of Indianapolis. Jacob jumped right into the deep end in karting, advancing quickly from club competition to the highly-competitive national series run by the World Karting Association and Superkarts! USA.  The Louisville, KY high school student is competing in the F4 US Championship this year and has his eyes on graduating to the USF2000 program in 2018.

"I am extremely excited to get into the USF2000 car with Newman Wachs Racing at Mid-Ohio,” Abel commented. “In the one test day we had in the car, I showed good pace and built a strong relationship with the guys at NWR. Mid-Ohio is actually the track at which I first drove a race car last year, when I completed my three-day school there. I've been itching to drive the track again ever since I left the school, which makes me even more excited for the event."

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