Dec 18, 2012
Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda title-winner Matthew Brabham will drive the No. 27 Andretti Autosport-prepared Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires entry for the 2013 season.
Brabham, 18, the second 2012 Mazda Road to Indy champion to graduate to the next series on the developmental ladder, is the grandson of three-time Formula One World Champion Sir Jack Brabham and son of former CART driver Geoff Brabham.
"I am so excited to be driving for the Andretti Autosport team in the 2013 Pro Mazda Championship," said Brabham, who recorded four victories and 11 podium finishes overall. "It was fantastic to drive for the team at the Indy test and get a feel for how they operate. The Pro Mazda had more power than the USF2000 car, so it was lots of fun to drive and gave me a good understanding of what to expect next season."
Geoff Brabham was a teammate of Andretti Autosport owner Michael Andretti in CART and made 10 starts in the Indianapolis 500 (best finish of fourth in 1983).
"I think it is really cool to have the Andretti and Brabham names come together with Matthew joining the Andretti Autosport team," Geoff Brabham said. "Both his grandfather, Sir Jack, and Mario are Formula One World Champions. Mario, Michael and I drove against each other for many years in Indy cars. Now Matthew has a chance to forge his own career. Having the history and heritage of both families behind him can only be positive, not only on the racetrack but also giving potential sponsors a very unique combination."
Brabham will have a familiar face joining him on the team's Pro Mazda Championship effort, with 2012 USF2000 Championship competitor Shelby Blackstock announcing his plans to also move up the ladder and move closer to the goal of becoming an IZOD IndyCar Series driver.
"I'm really looking forward to progressing through the Mazda Road to Indy ranks all the way to Indy cars," Brabham said. "Driving for Andretti Autosport certainly gives me that chance. Now it is up to me to make this opportunity count."
Connecticut teen wins USF2000 scholarship
Peter Portante will have the opportunity of his young racing career after winning the 2012 Skip Barber Championship Shootout at Road Atlanta.
After three days of competition and evaluation, the teenager from Plainfield, Conn., came out on top of the point standings to earn a USF2000 National Championship ride in 2013 (courtesy of MAZDASPEED), $20,000 cash from California Scents, and a Firestone Indy Lights test with Bryan Herta Autosport.
"This is just an unbelievable weekend, good drivers, so many close races," said Portante, who now has his sights set firmly on the 2013 USF2000 season. "First and second were separated by four points. Top top four were all between four points. So it's an unbelievable weekend. It's just a testament to what Skip Barber can do to young drivers."
The competition was anything but easy, however, as the top four drivers were separated by 3.3 points following five race events, a fitness test, a media evaluation, and a business proposal review. Portante edged runner-up Jake Eidson by .5 of a point.
Colorado's Eidson earned second place and $25,000 Skip Barber Race Series Scholarship, while Brazil's Danilo Estrela finished third and received a $20,000 Skip Barber Race Series Scholarship.
Norm Reeves Honda Superstore, the top-selling new Honda dealer in the nation, will be an "Official Team Partner" of the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team for 2013.