ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Diego Ferreira and Matthew Brabham shared the victory spoils when the new Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires commenced at the state-of-the-art Circuit of The Americas road course in Austin, Texas, earlier this month, and duly head the point standings as the contenders travel to Florida this weekend for two Allied Building Products Grand Prix of St. Petersburg races in support of the opening round of the IZOD IndyCar Series.
Ferreira, 19, from Maracay, Venezuela, displayed steady progress with Juncos Racing during his rookie campaign in 2012, finishing among the top five in each of the final five races.
He put that experience to excellent use in the 2013 season opener, qualifying on pole and leading from start to finish in Race 1, then adding a second-place finish in Race 2 to claim an early advantage in the championship.
Brabham, also 19, has graduated to Pro Mazda this season with the help of a full MAZDASPEED Driver Development scholarship after winning last year’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda – step one on the highly acclaimed Mazda Road to Indy ladder.
The third-generation racer, grandson of three-time Formula 1 World Champion Sir Jack Brabham and son of sports car champion Geoff Brabham, regularly topped the preseason testing charts with his Team Andretti Autosport entry, but had to be content with third place in Race 1. He bounced back to win Race 2 handsomely and trails Ferreira by a mere four points.
Brabham, who was born in Boca Raton, Fla., and raised in Surfers Paradise, Australia, finished second in both USF2000 races in St. Petersburg last year.