CLEARWATER, Fla. – Pro Mazda championship-winning organization Team Pelfrey will expand its open-wheel portfolio in 2014 by fielding a team of factory-backed Mygales in the F1600 Championship Series.
The new association will build upon the relationship that was established two years ago between Mygale and Bryan Herta Autosport. BHA will continue to be the importer of the globally successful French-built cars while Team Pelfrey assumes responsibility for trackside support for all Mygale owners.
With an emphasis on mechanical grip rather than aerodynamic downforce to promote close competition, F1600 has an unmatched reputation for training and developing young drivers. Its roots can be traced all the way back to the formation of Formula Ford in England in 1967. Next year’s F1600 Championship Series will comprise 14 races over seven weekends at a variety of top-quality road courses including Mid-Ohio, Road Atlanta, Virginia International Raceway and Watkins Glen International.
“I am really excited to have the opportunity for Team Pelfrey to continue the great work begun by Bryan Herta Autosport in running the factory Mygale F1600 program,” said Team Pelfrey Team Manager Nigel Tuckey. “Team Pelfrey is all about developing young drivers, and this program dovetails perfectly with our goals of providing a seamless transition into our Mazda Road to Indy programs and affiliates.”
There will be a close synergy between the F1600 program and Team Pelfrey’s Pro Mazda effort. Veteran IndyCar and Indy Lights crew chief Roy Wilkerson will oversee both programs to ensure the team operates at a highly professional level. Geoff Bushor will take charge of engineering, as he did with the previous factory Mygale effort, while Jeremy Brawner will provide further continuity as the lead mechanic – a role he has fulfilled for the past two years at Bryan Herta Autosport.
Team Pelfrey‘s F1600 drivers will be fully integrated into the team’s Pro Mazda program at IndyCar Series events, including exposure and introductions to prospective partners and sponsors, and will receive comprehensive off-track training – focusing on fitness, mental preparation, nutritional advice and business skills – via the recently announced Pelfrey Performance initiative, run in conjunction with CoForce International’s Anders Krohn and Jonny Baker.
“F1600 is the most logical first step into open-wheel racing,” said Krohn, an accomplished racer in his own right. “The car is simple enough not to break the bank, but sophisticated enough to teach a driver all the basics in order to successfully climb the Mazda Road to Indy ladder. We’ve structured the F1600 team in the exact same way as our championship-winning Pro Mazda team, which will make the transition up the ladder even easier. We will have a hands-on role with the development of our drivers both inside and outside the car with the goal of having the best prepared drivers in junior open-wheel racing.”
Testing for the F1600 team is already underway, with driver announcements expected in early January.