With his commanding performance in the Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres double-header this weekend, Matthew Brabham of Andretti Autosport has clinched the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires title with two races still remaining. His season has sent record books flying. Brabham’s 11th win aboard the No. 83 MAZDASPEED entry more than bested the record he recently broke of nine race wins in a season set by Jack Hawksworth last year.
The 19-year-old reigning Cooper Tires USF2000 Powered by Mazda champion also holds the record for the most consecutive wins in a season at seven, the record for most podiums in a season at 13 again besting Hawksworth as well as 2010 champ Conor Daly and is tied with Hawksworth for fastest race laps in a season at 11.
The grandson of three-time Formula 1 World Champion Sir Jack Brabham and son of Le Mans 24 Hours winner and two-time IMSA champion Geoff Brabham has definitely upheld the family pedigree. Brabham is the first driver to advance to the Indy Lights series after winning USF2000 and Pro Mazda titles in succession.
“I am absolutely speechless. To get two wins and the championship makes this just an unbelievable weekend, and I couldn’t think of a better place to win the championship,” said Brabham. “It has been so much fun here in Trois-Rivieres. I can’t thank everyone who supported me enough Mazda, for giving me the opportunity to have this wonderful year, Cooper Tires and AFS Racing for coming in at the end. Andretti Autosport has been fantastic all year, so a big thanks to them. At the start of the season, I couldn’t have predicted that I would have a year like this. I am just so, so happy.
As Pro Mazda champion, Brabham will earn a scholarship package from Mazda to advance to the Firestone Indy Lights Series next season the third and final step on the highly regarded Mazda Road to Indy ladder system which provides a clear and scholarship-supported path for drivers to reach the IZOD IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500.
“I am definitely looking forward to the future,” declared Brabham. “The United States has been wonderful for me. It was the perfect move for me at this point in my career and I am really looking forward to moving up to Indy Lights next year. I remember when I first went to St. Petersburg and I saw the Lights cars on track and I thought, ‘These cars are really cool and I want to get in one of those.’ I am really looking forward to being a part of Dan Andersen’s series again next year. Last year and this year were run smoothly and perfectly. I have never been in a series this organized and well-run before.
Andretti Autosport also put a lock on the team championship ahead of the season finale in Houston its first championship in the category.
Brabham made another perfect launch from the standing start for today’s 40-lap event and remained unchallenged to take the checkered flag 5.5 seconds ahead of Juncos Racing’s Diego Ferreira. Ferreira posted another flawless drive to second his 11th podium of the season. JDC MotorSports’ Juan Piedrahita lost a position to Team Pelfrey’s Spencer Pigot at the start, but regained third place on lap 26 to earn his second podium of the weekend and fourth of the season.
Pigot had his hands full after falling to fourth from a hard charging Scott Anderson of Juncos Racing, who managed to displace Pigot to fifth position on the final lap.
The only caution of the race came on lap 1 with a four-car incident in Turn Six that eliminated Shelby Blackstock of Andretti Autosport, Stefan Rzadzinski of Team Pelfrey and Kyle Kaiser of World Speed Motorsports. Lloyd Read was also involved but was able to continue after repairs by the JDC MotorSports crew.
In the Expert Class, Bobby Eberle of World Speed Motorsports claimed his second win of the weekend after a lively battle with Jay Horak of M1 Racing, who secured the class title this weekend.
Contingency awards included the Quarter Master Hard Charger Award which went to Julia Ballario of Juncos Racing for a gain of four positions to seventh place in her fourth start with the team. Ballario also was awarded the Staubli Award. The PFC Award went to the winning team of Andretti Autosport.