Moving up the racing ladder is never easy for young drivers. The recent global economic problems have made it even more difficult to find budgets than it was before, and there are so many junior categories out there that it's difficult to know where your best opportunities to move forward can be found.
But I think that for young drivers, especially those in Europe, the US is a great place to learn their trade and advance their careers. We have a lot of unique things that other forms of motorsports, and especially open-wheelers, don't have.
In our 'Mazda Road to Indy' driver development programme we have three fantastic series - USF2000, Star Mazda, and Firestone Indy Lights. The champions each receive a scholarship to the next level. We see each year the kids that move up are very well-prepared for that next step. There are a bunch of people who have jumped from Indy Lights to the IZOD IndyCar Series in the past two years who are doing great in IndyCar today.
The Road to Indy wasn't just started to develop American drivers. Sure, that's a large part of it - we could definitely use more Americans in the series. We're largely a domestic series, and if you need domestic sponsors and domestic fans, we think you need domestic heroes that will attract the hearts and minds of the American population and really, really get behind the sport.
To continue reading this feature, subscribe to Autosport Plus today.
Are you an Autosport magazine subscriber? Activate your online account
- Your Autosport Plus subscription includes:
- Unlimited access to Autosport's news - no monthly cap.
- Read the best motorsport features, analysis and opinion.
- Explore Forix, our comprehensive motorsport stats database.
- Choose from a monthly or yearly membership.